The Missouri governor's race was shaken up on Friday as the presumptive Republican nominee dropped out of the race.
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R) announced that he would be seeking a third term as lieutenant governor instead of challenging Gov. Jay Nixon (D), the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Kinder had been planning a run for governor since the beginning of his second term as the state's second-in-command.
"Serving as Lt. Governor is a great honor," Kinder said. "I have the experience, track-record and desire to continue working in that capacity every day to try to achieve needed reforms."
Kinder quickly threw his support for governor behind St. Louis packaging executive Dave Spence -- a political novice who has never run for public office before, but who is prepared to put his own money into the race.
Spence announced his candidacy for governor earlier this week.
Nixon has consistently led Kinder in the race. In August, the unmarried Kinder further suffered when due to repeated headlines regarding his visits to a strip club.
Kinder's entry into the lieutenant governor's race comes after state House Speaker Steve Tilley unexpectedly dropped his bid for the job. Tilley had been the only candidate for lieutenant governor on the Republican side, and cited his divorce as the motive to drop his bid for statewide office.
Following Tilley's announcement, state Sen. Brad Lager and former local judge Mike Carter both entered the lieutenant governor's race. It is not known if Lager and Carter will remain in the lieutenant governor's race with Kinder's plans to run for reelection.
Former State Auditor Susan Montee is the only Democrat running for lieutenant governor.
Missouri's lieutenant governor is elected independently from the governor and the state has a long history of the occupants of the two offices not getting along, most famously in the case of Gov. John Ashcroft (R) and Lt. Gov. Mel Carnahan (D) during Ashcroft's second term. Carnahan later succeeded Ashcroft and unseated him from the U.S. Senate in 2000, several weeks after Carnahan died in a plane crash.
Carnahan's daughter, Robin, also shook up the state's political class when she announced her decision not to run for reelection for secretary of state. Robin Carnahan's announcement was followed by state Rep. Jason Kander (D) entering the race for the office almost simultaniously. Kander will face either state Sen. Scott Rupp (R), state Sen. Bill Stouffer (R) or state Rep. Shane Schoeller (R) in the general election.