Getting the Business

What is it with St. Louis businessmen with no political experience deciding they should be the next U. S. Senator, Governor, and Lieutenant Governor of Missouri?

John Brunner, whose background involves heading a company making deodorant, nail polish remover, and hand sanitizer–and other products–announced a few weeks ago for U. S. Senate.

Chris McKee, a St. Louis developer whose father has received millions of dollars in tax credits for a north St. Louis redevelopment project that has drawn criticism from several legislators, has jumped into the Lieutenant Governor’s race, opposing Brad Lager, one of those who has been critical of the state tax credit program.. 

Now Dave Spence, owner of a St. Louis company that makes plastic bottles, who once was on the board of a bank that took federal bailout funds (Republicans have had unkind things to say about federal bailouts, remember), says he’s running for governor although earlier this year he gave $5,000 to Peter Kinder’s campaign and said he wouldn’t challenger Kinder if Kinder got into the race. Kinder told our affiliate in Joplin recently that his decision is “days away” although he issued an ambiguous statement after Spence’s announcement saying that “a primary will give Republicans a positive opportunity to pick the person who has the best vision and the right experience to defeat Governor Nixon….”  

All three of these guys are sharp businessmen. And all three bring another important qualification to these races—their own money. All three indicate their campaign will focus on jobs and economic issues.  “Job creation is No. 1,” said Spence.

We’ll see as the campaign season develops if they bring any other issues to the table—because Missouri government and life in Missouri is an incredible multi-issue thing.  There’s plenty of time for them to flesh out their platforms.

On the day Spence announced he wasn’t going to wait any longer for Kinder to make up his mind, the economic development department announced Missouri’s unemployment rate had improved again and was at its lowest rate since February, 2009.  And as department director David Kerr announced his retirement, he was touting the hundreds–nay, thousands—of new jobs that have been saved or announced within the last year as coming to a community near you.

How high can a pro-jobs candidate fly under those circumstances?   That’s a story to be covered in the next 11-plus months.

Filing for statewide office does not begin until  February 28th.  A lot of trial balloons are floating right now and more might float before then.  It’s always interesting for us to watch the business of politics, business IN politics, and political business leading up to filing days and to watch trial balloons inflate and deflate.  .

At this stage, though, a couple of thoughts have crossed our mind: :

Where are the business people of Kansas City?  Or Springfield?  Or any other city in Missouri?  Aren’t statewide politics too important to be left to business people only from St. Louis?

And another thought for these pro-jobs St. Louis businessmen:  What is their plan for making sure Albert Pujols has a job at first base for the Cardinals for the next eight to ten years?

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