Election preview: Strong showing from third party candidates in Missouri's five executive races
By Ballotpedia's State executive team: Greg Janetka, Lauren Rodgers and Maresa Strano
SPRINGFIELD, Missouri: Candidates interested in of the Show Me state's five executive offices up for election in 2012 had until yesterday to file with the Missouri Secretary of State. The filing deadline has been extended for the office of governor, due to candidate withdrawals, but the remainder of the candidate line-ups are set in the races for lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer.
As of Tuesday's initial filing deadline, a total of 29 candidates are running for a state executive office in Missouri. This number may increase slightly due to the extension to file for governor, but it's not likely to drop. Four of the five incumbent state executive officials are seeking re-election; Robin Carnahan, the current secretary of state, is retiring from office. Third party candidates are making a strong showing this year. The Libertarian Party has a candidate in each of the five races and the Constitution Party has candidates in the elections for governor, lieutenant governor and secretary of state.
See also: Missouri gubernatorial election, 2012
Due to withdrawal of candidates, candidate filing for governor will remain open until Friday, March 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm (local time). The current filing list is displayed below, and was updated April 2, 2012.
In 2011, incumbent lieutenant governor Peter Kinder (R) was considering a run for the state's top office, challenging Gov. Jay Nixon (D) for his seat. A poll his campaign financed showed him trailing Nixon 48-41 in August, just days before the Riverfront Times broke with a sex scandal that caused Kinder to lose support from some key political allies.
Kinder dropped out of the gubernatorial race on November 18, stating he would run for re-election as lieutenant governor instead. He will face state Senator Brad Lager, developed Chris McKee, attorney Mike Carter and Charles Kullmann in the August 14th Republican primary in what will likely be one of the election cycle's most contentious primary races, as donors and voters alike will have the opportunity to weigh in with their preferences.
Former Missouri Auditor Susan Montee leads a pack of eight candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. She faces former state Rep. Judy Baker, realtor Fred Kratky, current state Rep. Sara Lampe, Saline County Commissioner Becky Plattner, attorneys Jackie McGee and Bill Haas, and Dennis Weisenburger in the Democratic primary. Haas has initially filed to run in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District, then switched to the District 5 seat in the Missouri State Senate before settling in the race for lieutenant governor.
Two third party candidates filed for the office as well: Libertarian Matthew Copple, a software developer, and former state Rep. Cynthia Davis, a Constitution Party candidate. While in the state House, Davis was a Republican, but she left the party in July of 2011 and joined the Constitution Party.
See also: Missouri attorney general election, 2012
At first, it appeared that Koster would coast into his next term without more than nominal opposition in the general election. Then, on January 26, St. Louis attorney Ed Martin, who served as chief of staff to Governor Matt Blunt from 2006-2008, announced his intentions to run for attorney general as a Republican candidate. The arrival of a serious competitor, accompanied by his high volume of complaints against the office's current leadership, could have derailed Koster's, and the Democratic party's, hopes. Instead, Martin's entrance into the race roused a tremendous wave of fundraising support for Koster. Since Martin announced his bid, Koster has raised over $678,000 — "nearly five times the amount he raised in the last three months of 2011."
Attorney general is the third office Martin has set his sights on during the 2012 election season. He was previously running for U.S. Senate, and for the U.S. House, representing Missouri's 2nd District, but decided to switch to the attorney general's race in tribute to his "almost obsession with stopping the president's health care reform law."
Vying for the Republican nomination alongside Martin in the August 7 primary is Adam Warren, a Livingston County Prosecutor and former Chillicothe city attorney. Likewise, Warren has pinned his campaign on challenging Obamacare, which Koster supports.
Filing at the very last minute, Libertarian Dave Browning became the final candidate to enter the race for attorney general. Browning ran unsuccessfully for U.S. House of Representatives, District 6, back in 2008.
With current Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan retiring from office, the race to fill her spot was expected to attract a diverse slew of competitors- and it delivered. A total of seven candidates spanning four parties filed to run in the upcoming primaries by yesterday's filing deadline. Five of the candidates filed with the secretary of state on opening day, February 28, and two more sneaked up in March to make the cut.
The two Democratic candidates are state Representative and Afghanistan vet Jason Kander and National Chairman of U.S. National Democratic Party Asian American Caucus Md Alam Rabbi. Kander's campaign pledges include simplifying the process of starting a small business in Missouri and continuing the work he did in the State House to promote veteran participation in state government and raise ethical standards for campaigns and lobbies. Alam seeks the position to increase the rights and opportunities for immigrants.
Rupp plans to use his background as a small business-owner to reach out to Missouri's small business owners, farmers in particular. He is also running on his consistent conservative record as a state senator, having twice helped pass voter-ID legislation to tackle voter-fraud, and spearheading a ballot initiative in opposition to Obamacare.
Stouffer, who announced his bid to become Missouri's top elections official over a year ago, is determined to use the position to defend elections against fraud. He sponsored the voter-ID bill in the State Senate saying “Missouri has a rich history of competitive, close elections and the current measures we take to verify the integrity of these elections are unacceptable.”
Schoeller's campaign focuses are on reducing business regulations in addition to a plan to establish bipartisan commissions comprised of elected officials and citizens which would foster clarity in the language of ballot initiatives and ensure the integrity of the election process.
Democratic incumbent state Treasurer Clint Zweifel is seeking a second term in 2012. Zweifel, who previously served in the Missouri House of Representatives for six years, launched his re-election campaign way back in June 2011 with a video highlighting his efforts to save taxpayers money.
Current Republican state Rep. Cole McNary entered the race in December 2011. He has represented District 86 since 2009. Upon announcing his bid, McNary touted himself as a fiscal conservative but said he didn't have any particular complaints about Zweifel's job performance. Libertarian Sean O'Toole also filed to run. He ran unsuccessfully for state House in 2010.
- Missouri elections, 2012
- Missouri state executive official elections, 2012
- Missouri gubernatorial election, 2012
- Missouri lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2012
- Missouri attorney general election, 2012
- Missouri secretary of state election, 2012
- Missouri down ballot state executive elections, 2012
- Missouri Secretary of State, Unofficial candidate filing," accessed March 28, 2012
- Huffington Post, "Peter Kinder, Missouri Lt. Governor, embroiled in stripper scandal (VIDEO)," October 25, 2011
- LA Times, "Missouri's lieutenant governor faces stripper issues," August 24, 2011
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Peter Kinder drops out of governor's race," November 19, 2011
- STL today "Rival gains: Opposition has done wonders for AG Chris Koster's fundraising," March 28, 2012
- St. Louis Today, "Ed Martin switches races again, will now pursue AG," January 27, 2012
- News Press Now, "Rural prosecutor enters AG race," accessed February 23, 2012
- Project Vote Smart "Dave Browning-Biography, " accessed March 28, 2012
- Rupp for Missouri "Home," accessed March 27, 2012
- Politic MO "Incumbent Carnahan and Republican Stouffer to run for secretary of state," February 25, 2011
- News Press Now "Secretary of State candidate targets regulations," March 15, 2012
- Columbia Missourian, "Missouri Treasurer Clint Zweifel launches re-election bid," June 14, 2011
- CBS St. Louis, "Cole McNary Wants Missouri Treasurer’s Job," December 2, 2011