ST. LOUIS – Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder made a campaign stop in downtown St. Louis Friday to accept the endorsement of three former Navy SEALs who believe he can best lead Missouri in the fight against terrorism and crime.
Jared Ogden, Miguel Yanez and Jake Zweig gave their support to Kinder at Ogden’s firearm start-up Triumph Systems and warned that rising crime rates in St. Louis were a result of ineffective leadership.
“Local government has to take more control and with someone like the lieutenant governor at the helm, I think there will be a complete turnaround,” Yanez said after detailing his experiences overseas.
Kinder believes that the two issues of crime and terrorism are two sides of the same coin. When asked about what he could do as governor, he repeatedly turned to the increase in violent crime that has occurred in St. Louis since Ferguson, referring to “The Ferguson Effect,” a political theory that scrutiny of police has resulted in a rise in crime. Kinder said that tougher judges, whom the governor appoints, and a general attitude of toughness could deter violent crime.
“The need for that has never been more evident after last night and the events in Orlando,” Kinder said.
The attack Thursday night the lt. governor was referring to an attack in Nice, France where a terrorist killed 84 people by driving a truck through a crowd during Bastille Day festivities.
The curiosity of the event stemmed from the fact that one of Kinder’s three opponents is Eric Greitens, a former Navy SEAL himself who has campaigned largely on his time in the military. Ogden refuted that the endorsements were in any way meant to detract from or pointed towards Greitens.
“I have never met Eric Greitens and I’m not here to bad mouth any other candidates,” Ogden said. “I’m strictly here to show my support for Peter Kinder.”
Kinder has fallen behind in recent polls from the Remington Research Group, and Public Policy Polling released a poll Friday morning showing similar results. Kinder was widely considered the frontrunner early in the race due to his strong name recognition. Meanwhile, Greitens has surged into the lead in most recent polls, with businessman John Brunner in second and former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway in third. However, Kinder says he’s not intimidated or nervous that results seem to not be going his way.
“I’ve been an underdog before. I’ve come from behind in all three of my statewide wins,” he said. “Polls come and go… but the only poll that counts is the one that comes two weeks from Tuesday, and I’m confident that I can come from behind once again while being outspent.”