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What's Worse than a Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Who Frequented Strip Clubs? How About One Who Supports TARP?

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Republican leaders hope personal care packaging mogul Dave Spence can be a more attractive gubernatorial candidate than Lt. Governor Peter Kinder.
Big news yesterday on the Missouri gubernatorial election front. Dave Spence, a businessman from St. Louis, has jumped into the race.

Spence had been thinking about running for a while now. As recently as late October, he told Poltico that he would almost certainly enter the fray if Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, the presumed front-runner for the nomination, decided not to run. Spence planned to delay his decision until Kinder, who has made headlines recently for his strip club visits in the '90s, made an announcement one way or the other. After all, Spence and Kinder go way back. They were Beta Theta Pi frat brothers at Mizzou and remain friends.

But with Kinder is still on the fence, Spence felt he could no longer wait, he told the Associated Press. The first-time political candidate joins even lesser-known Bill Randles, an attorney from Kansas City who most people don't even know is in the race, as the only official candidates in the Republican primary.

Assuming Kinder eventually does throw his name onto the ballot, we may be in store for a savage primary race. The top two candidates will have much ammunition with which to attack each other. What's a bigger issue than a Republican gubernatorial candidate who frequented strip clubs? How about a Republican gubernatorial candidate who supports TARP?

And Spence's campaign soft-spot goes even further than that.

In 2005, Spence was named onto the board of directors of Reliance Bank. In February 2009, after the recession hit, the federal government bailed out the bank with a $42 million loan as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Banks who received the loan are expected to pay back the tax payers with quarterly dividends.

But in February 2011, Reliance Bancshares, Reliance Bank's parent company announced that it would stop making it's $2.2 million payments, citing financial struggles (more than 100 banks nationwide have done the same thing). At the time, its most recent financial statement showed nearly $15 million in losses during the first nine months of 2010. Spence disagreed with the decision to stop payments. He resigned from the board in March.

"I resigned from the bank board over this issue," he told PoliticMo.

But it's his support for the bailout, a keystone issue among Republican voters, that could hurt his campaign for governor. According to an AP article, when asked about Reliance's move to stop the payments, Spence defended TARP:

Spence said he doesn't recall any details about that decision, but he said the federal bank bailout program helped avoid a potential economic disaster by providing banks with "extra cushion of capital."

Missouri Democrats have already called him out on this. In a press release issued on the heels of Spence's announcement, Missouri Democratic Party spokeswoman Caitlin Legacki said, "It's hard to imagine Republican primary voters supporting a guy like Dave Spence, who not only supported the bank bailouts - but even took a $40 million government bailout for his own bank..."

Then again, Mitt Romney, more or less the GOP front-runner for the presidential nomination has also defended TARP. So it may not be a deal breaker in the voting booth. Plus it's always good to see a degree of ideological heterogeneity in a primary race.

Spence made his money in the packaging business. He owns Alpha Packaging, a St. Louis-based company that manufactures plastic bottles for pharmaceutic and personal care products. The company brings in nearly $200 million in annual sales and employs around 800 people. Many expect Spence to help fund his campaign with his own money, which has drawn him comparisons to John Brunner, the St. Louis hand sanitizer mogul who is running for Senate.

A primary battle between Spence and Kinder could be fierce, considering the blemishes in their records and the high-profile nature of the race. Ever since Daily RFT broke the story about Kinder's sketchy relationship with former stripper and Penthouse centerfold Tammy Chapman, Republican shot callers have been worried about Kinder's chances against the popular Democratic incumbent Governor Jay Nixon. Spence is banking on the whispers that party leaders are searching for a Kinder-alternative.

Last week, as rumors about Spence's potential candidacy were heating up, he told the AP, "People need to know that there are alternatives to Peter Kinder. It doesn't make Peter Kinder a bad guy, but I think people need to know that there are alternatives out there."

A month ago, in an interview with Politico's David Catanese, Spence took what seemed like a veiled shot at Kinder's strip-club-related vulnerability: "I realize they will use my success against me and I'm not a perfect person, but I don't have any gaping holes and I've lived a very good Christian life."

And yet, the way Spence describes it, the race will be more friendly competition than bruising slugfest. He has declared nothing less than respect for Kinder and, in the run up to yesterday's announcement, discussed his potential candidacy as if he were concerned about stepping on Kinder's toes. On the same day as the October interview with Catanese, Spence donated $5,500 to Kinder's Political Action Committee, Friends of Peter Kinder.

Outside of his support for TARP, Spence maintains the template Republican party line: he wants to improve the economy by eliminating some-to-many government regulations that affect businesses, and he wants to make Missouri a right-to-work state, where union membership would not be a requirement for employment.



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20 comments
B.P
B.P

I am taking a look at Randles and I like what I see!!

cbrown285
cbrown285

It is kind of funny that the Republican Party and the media keep ignoring the only candidate that has filed with the ethics commission for Governor, that is Bill Randles.  He has a lot of good ideas and is a true CONSERVATIVE.  I am glad he is running and wish him the best of luck. 

B.P
B.P

I will VOTE FOR BILL RANLES!

Nathan9357
Nathan9357

This is why I will be voting for Bill Randles.  I am tired of the same old politics.  It is time to get new blood with some integrity and a great vision for Missouri.

Rbeedle
Rbeedle

Bill Randles is a candidate for Governor he is A OUTSTANDINGPERSON, he is a man with a vision and great plan for Mo. Go to www.BillRandles.com  for Mo Governor and find out all about him.

Wendle
Wendle

What figures or factual polling shows any evidence that "most people don't even know [Bill Randles] is in the race"?  Is this simply anecdotal evidence? Did Mr. Samaha actually conduct any polling to base this determination?  Was there any actual research done to be able to confidently make such an assessment? Or did he simply ask people he knows personally to determine this less than factual statement?  I'd be interested to know why he would make such a statement that is obviously an uneducated opinion disguised as hard news facts. How exactly is Mr. Samaha determining that Mr. Randles is a "lesser known" candidate compared to Spence also? I know I never heard of Spence until a few weeks ago after the media started reporting about him. So since we're just taking anecdotal evidence and reporting it as facts, then maybe they should be reporting that nobody knows Spence too?  This is just lazy work from the media, typical from Riverfront Times.

Erin Dunn
Erin Dunn

I know about Bill Randles, and I am both proud and excited about supporting him!  Finally I can vote for a candidate who doesn't just have talking points, but rather has a real, workable plan to get this state on track.  I suggest that anyone who cares about this state take the time to visit Bill Randles' website, study his plan, and then get involved with his campaign.  He is a true grassroots candidate who is worthy of our support and our state would be wise to elect such a man.

Andrew Palmer
Andrew Palmer

Hmmm... I couldn't get past the St. Louis businessman line, whatever, not really interested, how about Bill Randles? Character, great person, not a politician.

Sharon
Sharon

The only declared Republican candidate for Governor right now is Bill Randle.  He has been working VERY hard for a year now - attending close to 200 events!  Randles has the vision and the plan to move Missouri forward.  He is gaining name recognition and a strong following.  To add another candidate at this time is a HUGE mistake.  This grass roots candidate is building momentum that is going to take him to victory in 2012!!!!!

CultureVigilante
CultureVigilante

Perhaps Randles is an unknown, perhaps the left leaning media is in for a big surprise. In today's political climate, I believe it is unwise to short sell a grass roots candidate. Randles has conducted a brilliant and stealthy campaign, and is very well know among likely voters across Missouri. The mainstream media needs to wake up and smell the coffee. Not reporting or marginally reporting on Randles is not going to help you influence the race. A new day has dawned and you no longer "control" the information flow.

B.L
B.L

 Bill Randles is a candidate for Governor he is A REALLY OUTSTANDING PERSON, he is a man with a vision and great plan for Mo. Bill  Randles is a self made man, he does not owe ANYONE, and he will do an outstanding job. You can go to Bill Randles for Mo Governor and find out all about him

SUPPORT BILL RANDLES FOR MO. GOVERNOR!

John Errante
John Errante

With all due respect to Mr. Spence, most of the GOP grassroots folks around the STL area, his home city, had never heard of him before his announcement, let alone party leaders in other parts of the state.  Bill Randles has attended over 145 events over the past year and has a list of thousands of grassroots supporters.  Perhaps it is a bit presumptuous to declare who is "lesser-known?"

KITTY
KITTY

There they go, bashing Kinder again. If the RFT didn't have Kinder to kick around all the time, they would probably go broke. But lets fast forward. What happens if Kidner does win the election? Will the RFT finally give him some good press? I doubt it. The Times does everything it can to smear a guy who has done nothing more than visiting a strip club YEARS AGO. Then along came the stripper-whore-slut Tammy Chapman WANTING her picture taken with Kinder at Verlins pantiless saloon. Kinder's only misdeed was to have stopped at the wrong place to take a piss. Had he not done that there would have been no story for the RFT to continually dredge up like a rotting corpse. The RFT should adapt a new slogan: "We Muckrake Innocent People When There Is Really No Muck To Rake." The RFT should also print a disclaimer under its banner:" We Are An Arm of the Democratic Party, Unfair and Never Balanced."

Guest
Guest

Wrong there Albert. Tammy Chapman was never in Playboy - she was a Penthouse centerfold, called a Pet.

Celebration
Celebration

Gifts cash on the pricelessemotions and terms that make the relation, by adding the true values to it.When it’s about relishing the sweet terms spent together, gifts are magnificentin dealing with that. That’s the area where HampersNationWide.com has specialized, and www.hampersnationwide.com/Fran...isthe link that hosts them all.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I WILL VOTE FOR LIBL ANRSELD

Anonymous
Anonymous

Sure, and Ron Paul's a viable candidate.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Let me jam your head into my lap, KITTY.

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