ST. CHARLES, MO –(KMOX)–Shaking hands with a crowd of about 50 Republicans gathered at the Golden Corral steak house off Zumbehl Road, Kansas City attorney Bill Randles was hoping to convince his party that Lt. Governor Peter Kinder isn’t their best menu option for winning the Governor’s race.
“Republicans often fall into this unfortunate habit of the next guy in line,” Randles said, “Our best moments as a party have come when we haven’t done that.”
Making — by his count — his 108th appearance around the state to promote his run for governor, Randles appeared with his wife Bev at the St. Charles County Pachyderm Club.
“We’ve put 32,000 miles on our vehicle,” Randles said.
The Harvard Law School graduate and attorney, who has practiced for 20 years in St. Louis and Kansas City, can boast he is still the “only declared Republican candidate” in the race. But Randles has his problems. For one, he’s never held elective office.
“I am untainted by prior public office,” he quips.
Also, Randles admits, he has less than $10,000 cash on hand in his campaign account, compared to Kinder’s bankroll of $1.6 million.
“Well, clearly there is an inside lane for those who have been in the party a long time. And we’re struggling against that,” he said.
But the Ozarks born, former Baptist minister claims his message is being well-received on the county level by local Republican leaders and individual voters.
Among his goals:
**Replacing the Missouri income tax with a fair tax.
**Making Missouri a Right to Work state
**Regulatory and Judicial reform to make Missouri more attractive to new businesses.
Exotic Dancer and Bible belt Voter Dynamics…
When asked whether the exotic dancer scandal raises doubts about Kinder’s ability to beat incumbent Democratic Governor Jay Nixon, Randles shied away from taking a direct stab at Kinder. But he says it’s important the party pick a candidate who energizes conservative Christian voters in southwest Missouri.
“If you go to the southwest part of the state, the buckle of the Bible belt, it’s the determining factor,” Randles said, “For a Republican in Missouri, if you can’t win the southwest part of the state, you can’t win.”
Randles was asked if those conservative Christian voters in southwest Missouri might stay home or even vote for Governor Nixon — if faced with a choice between Nixon and Kinder.
“I do think that’s a factor that has to be considered, of course,” Randles said, “I personally have never heard anyone say anything bad about Jay Nixon’s personal life. I would be surprised to hear anything negative.”
KMOX contacted the Kinder campaign for comment on Randle’s candidacy. A Kinder spokesman declined to comment. Kinder has yet to formally announce his run for office. But his campaign received two big boosts last week — a fundraiser with Karl Rove in Cape Girardeau that reportedly brought in $160,000, and an endorsement Friday from former U-S Senator Jack Danforth, who told KMOX’s Charlie Brennan that he’s “all for” Kinder.
Danforth, an ordained Episcopalian minister, down played the stripper scandal, saying “few of us are saints.”