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Kinder files exploratory committee, some District Republicans uncertain about prospects of a primary

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. — As Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder creates an exploratory committee to analyze whether a run for the 8th Congressional District is ideal, some Republicans in the district are not sure about the idea of another area primary.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder

Kinder released a statement this morning announcing the formation of an exploratory committee to discuss a potential campaign, adding that during the meeting which led to this committee’s creation, Kinder expressed “his disgust with the dysfunction of out-of-touch Washington elites.”

Kinder went on several radio shows today, including Dana Loesch’s 97.1 FM show and Mark Reardon’s KMOX show.

On KMOX, Kinder tells Reardon he plans on be able to say one way or the other what his plans are with the potential primary before the end of the month. In the meantime, he says the committee will sample the opinions of the people and “test the waters” on fundraising.

Kinder says he has received a lot of encouragement to pursue the seat again. Kinder was one of more than a dozen Republican candidates for the position in the special election this past February, during which a nominating committee ultimately chose Smith as the Party’s candidate.

In a written statement, Smith responded to Kinder’s announcement:

“I cannot imagine Peter Kinder challenging any sitting Republican. Peter has spoken out several times recently about the importance of party unity and the Republican Party sticking together. Peter knows if he left the Lt. Governor’s office Governor Nixon would appoint a Democrat to replace him. Peter has been in politics for over 20 years, he knows better than to give up his office to a Democrat. Also, I have always considered Peter a friend and I supported him in his primary last year and he has supported me in past elections. Friends just don’t run against friends.”

Congressman Jason Smith
Congressman Jason Smith

“Friends run against friends all the time,” Kinder says in response to Smith’s comments on KMOX, adding that Smith was his friend when they ran against each other during the special election, as he says they are now.

Kinder spent a lot of the air time today touting his work with the Department of Revenue document-scanning issue from earlier this year, as well as his fiscally conservative record from his time in state government.

“I think I can take that to Washington,” he tells 97.1 FM’s Dana Loesch.

Eddy Justice, 8th Congressional District Committee Chair, says he thinks conversations about a primary are definitely worth having, but that it might be better to have them behind closed doors.

“Party unity in the 8th dictates that we at least have a discussion between all candidates about the possibility of avoiding an expensive and damaging primary,” Justice says.

Jeff Shawan, chairman of the 152nd Legislative Committee is also a fan of avoiding a primary.

“Lt. Gov. Kinder has got to do what he feels he should do, but I just hate for us to have another primary,” he says.

Shawan says he thinks Smith has proved his voting record “accurately represents the dues of the 8th District” in terms of “conservative values,” which also helps push his idea about the lack of need for a primary.

Kinder's full announcement (click for a full view)
Kinder’s full announcement (click for a full view)

“I am personal friends with Kinder and think highly of him,” he adds. “It’s just a matter that Jason Smith has already proved himself, so to speak.”

During both radio show appearances today, Kinder made mention to the proverbial question at hand being whether “we have our most proven conservative fighters on the field.”

Again, Kinder’s final decision is expected later this month.