ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – Was it moral outrage, or political calculation? New questions about what prompted a Missouri House Republican to issue a letter calling for Lt. Governor Peter Kinder to drop his bid for Governor in the wake of the exotic dancer story.
That letter from freshman lawmaker Kevin Elmer of Nixa, Missouri questioned Kinder’s viability as a candidate with a strip-club past. But now we’re learning Elmer has family ties to former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who ran for Governor once before and could try again if Kinder drops out.
“This purely was motivated by the fact that I believe Governor Nixon can be beat in the election and we need a different candidate than Peter Kinder to be that person,” Elmer said.
Elmer is first-cousin to the husband of Sarah Steelman. Steelman ran in the Republican primary for Governor and lost to Kenny Hulshof. Currently, Steelman is a candidate in the Republican primary for the U-S Senate. She is aiming for the seat now held by Democratic U-S Senator Claire McCaskill.
But Steelman’s name has been on the short list in press reports about who might be waiting in the wings to top the Republican ticket if Kinder’s campaign collapses.
“It (the letter) was not reviewed ahead of time by anybody associated with her campaign,” Elmer said, “I didn’t talk with my cousin or anything else. I’m a big boy. I speak for myself. And I find it insulting for anybody to act like anything that’s been portrayed is anything other than me standing up for a position.”
Elmer, who was reached for comment at his law office in Nixa, says the phone has been busy with people calling to share their support. He says his “loss of faith” in Kinder is shared by other Republican state lawmakers, but so far, they’re keeping their doubts private.
Meanwhile, KMOX asked the highest-ranking elected Republican in the state to weigh in on the question of whether Kinder is still viable to top the ticket U-S Senator Roy Blunt ducked the question during a tour of a plant that manufactures chicken and livestock feed.
“You know, I think Peter Kinder has done a good job as Lt. Governor and what I’ve said about all these primaries is, I’m not going to have anything to say about them until we get a lot closer to election day,” Blunt said.
The Kinder campaign has no comment yet on how it has responded to the request for a refund from a wealthy campaign donor in Joplin. David C. Humphreys, whose family owns Tamko Building Products, reportedly is seeking a refund of at least $125,000 in the wake of the exotic dancer story.
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