CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (KMOX) — Shaking hands like a candidate, Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder visited a senior center to criticize his potential opponent — Governor Jay Nixon — but tried to duck a reporter’s question about his run for governor, saying “I’m not here to talk politics.”
Kinder walked in the front door of the Willows at Brooking Park, two months after a scandal with an exotic dancer prompted him to sneak in a kitchen door to avoid the media at another local event.
Since then, Kinder has received the endorsement of former U-S Senator Jack Danforth, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and toured the state to get feedback from voters about his chances for governor.
“It’s been very positive ,” Kinder said of the feedback in general.
(**Click here to listen to the un-edited Kinder interview**)
When asked about his reception around Springfield, Mo — the Bible belt of Missouri considered vital for a GOP candidate to win — Kinder said he had just “spent the weekend there” and described his support there as “very strong.”
Not wanting to upstage his own announcement, Kinder sought to end the interview by saying “I’ll be talking next month about my future.”
But he was asked one more thing. What ever happened to the Joplin, Missouri donor — David Humphreys — who had reportedly asked Kinder to return $150,000 in the wake of the exotic dancer flap?
“That’s a personal matter between him and me and I can’t say anything more,” Kinder said.
When pressed to explain, Kinder pulled back the curtain a little further.
“I met with him. The money has not been returned.”
Beyond that, Kinder says he is “not at liberty” to say more.
Kinder then entered an auditorium at the senior center, where a few dozen seniors listened to him call for action to improve In-home health care in Missouri.
Kinder criticized Democratic Governor Jay Nixon and the Department of Health and Senior Services for “failing to deal with” a backlog of patients awaiting care, after a contract with a private company was canceled.
“Some 600 seniors in critical condition have been waiting for months,” Kinder told the crowd, “and thousands with non-critical needs are waiting even
The Associated Press is reporting that Nixon’s office declined to comment on Kinder’s remarks, referring all questions to the Department of Health and Senior Services. The agency told the AP that it’s doing a good job gradually reducing the number of poor people awaiting approval to get state assistance with cleaning, cooking and bathing.
Copyright KMOX Radio