Crowded GOP primary field vying to be Missouri’s next lieutenant governor

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The Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City, as pictured September 26, 2023 (Annelise Hanshaw/Missouri Independent).When Eric Greitens was forced to resign from the Missouri governor’s office in 2018, he was replaced by Lt. Gov. Mike Parson.

Two years later, Parson won a full term of his own. 

Being next in line for governor is the major constitutional requirement for the lieutenant governor. In Missouri, unlike many other states, the lieutenant governor doesn’t run on a ticket with the governor. 

Five Republicans hope to win their party’s nomination for lieutenant governor on Aug. 6, vying for a job that involves sitting on various boards and breaking ties in the Missouri Senate.

Despite its limited constitutional authority, millions are being spent to capture the GOP nod heading into the fall, where the winner will take on one of two Democrats — state Rep. Richard Brown of Kansas City or Anastasia Syes of St. Louis  — and Libertarian Ken Iverson of Lake St. Louis.

Holly Thompson Rehder

Rehder, of Scott City, served eight years in the Missouri House of Representatives before being elected to the Senate in 2020.

Holly Rehder (photo submitted)

The work she’s most proud of in the legislature, she said in an interview, was helping pass policies to “help people out of poverty, help them become self-reliant and and help with the mental health struggles we see,” pointing to veteran suicides and the opioid epidemic.

“I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck,” she said. “I grew up on the system and got myself out, turning into a business owner, starting from the ground up, not because anyone handed me anything but because it was because I worked for it and took the risk.”

Rehder, who married at 15 and had a daughter at 16, sponsored legislation this year to ban child marriage, which narrowly failed. 

She also sponsored legislation last year to prohibit transgender athletes from competing in sports that align with their gender identity, which was signed into law.

Before politics, Rehder worked in the cable television industry and co-founded a cable contracting company. She is a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University.

She said she decided to run for lieutenant governor to make a larger impact on people’s lives than she can as a senator, with the opportunity to “delve into some policy issues and really fight to help people.” Areas she is particularly interested in focusing attention toward include the foster care system and veterans’ mental health.

Rehder has $302,928 cash on hand in her campaign fund and $264,596 in Southern Drawl PAC, her joint fundraising committee, as of April 15 filings. Her campaign fund had spent $190,055 and the PAC had spent $40,508 on the campaign, as of April 15.

Dave Wasinger

Wasinger is an attorney at a St. Louis law firm he owns and manages, and a certified public accountant.

He ran for auditor in 2018 and lost in the GOP primary.

Wasinger grew up in Hannibal and attended the University of Missouri and then Vanderbilt Law School, before moving to St. Louis. He has worked at the law firm for over 20 years, specializing in business litigation.

Dave Wasinger (photo submitted)

After the 2008 financial crisis, Wasinger “took on Wall Street banks,” he said, representing whistleblowers in financial fraud cases against Countrywide Home Loans and JP Morgan Chase. The whistleblowers were key witnesses in the federal government’s case against the banks, helping federal prosecutors recover billions of dollars. 

Wasinger said the position of lieutenant governor “serves as a great bully pulpit to expose this corruption and these insider deals taking place in Jefferson City.” 

As of April 15 filings, Wasinger’s campaign had $222,554 cash on hand and had spent $17,759. Since then, he has donated $1.5 million of his own money to the campaign. 

Lincoln Hough

Hough, of Springfield, first won election to the Missouri House in 2010 and won a seat on the Greene County Commission in 2016. Two years later, he was elected to the Senate and was re-elected last year.

Lincoln Hough (courtesy of Missouri Senate).

Hough is a “first-generation cattleman” who started his cattle ranch when he was in seventh grade. He graduated from Missouri State University.

“The most important thing I would want people to know about me is that I’m a self made person,” he said. “And I don’t come from a political family. I don’t come from money.” 

Hough has served as chairman of the powerful Senate appropriations committee since last year, giving him huge influence over the state budget. 

He said he’s proudest of his work in the legislature cutting the income tax, investing in Interstate 70 and providing state funds to support the National Guard when it was dispatched to the US-Mexico border by the governor.  He also said that in his time as chairman “we have completely defunded Planned Parenthood,” by preventing it from receiving Medicaid reimbursements.

 “I’ve got a good track record of actually getting things done in Jefferson City,” he said, “and not just not just doing the kind of the political talking points that people like to do.” 

Hough said he sees the focus of the lieutenant governor as  “promoting Missouri,” and “supporting the workforce initiatives of the governor.”

Hough’s campaign fund had $377,679 cash on hand as of April 15. A joint fundraising PAC, Lincoln PAC, had roughly $1.2 million. 

His campaign fund had spent $138,222 and the PAC had spent $143,683 as of April 15.

Paul Berry III

Berry, a St. Louis County businessman, has run unsuccessfully in five campaigns since 2012. 

Paul Berry III

He has also filed numerous lawsuits that have either been dismissed or withdrawn, including one intended to force state lawmakers to pass a congressional redistricting map and another alleging election irregularities cost him victory in his 22 percentage-point loss in the 2020 St. Louis County Executive race.

Though he isn’t an attorney, Berry represented himself in those cases.

Berry is a bail bondsman from Bridgeton and the great-nephew of rock-n-roll legend Chuck Berry.

His campaign filed a limited activity report with the Missouri Ethics Commission, meaning it raised and spent less than $500.

Tim Baker

Baker is the county clerk in Franklin County. He lives in Robertsville and before becoming clerk ran for county commissioner three times and lost.

As county clerk, Baker said, he has focused on saving taxpayer money by reducing “wasteful spending.”

Tim Baker, candidate for lt. governor (photo submitted)

He said he believes in the importance of the boards the lieutenant governor serves on, including veterans and tourism, and would hope to bring more attention to farming in Missouri.

“Farming is our number one industry in our state,” he said. “And a lot of people, especially in the urban areas, don’t necessarily know what a farm looks like or where their food comes from whenever you go out and talk to folks. And it would be nice to bring that to the forefront too.”

Baker has $5,646 on hand, according to April 15 filings, and had spent $4,079.

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The post Crowded GOP primary field vying to be Missouri’s next lieutenant governor appeared first on Missouri Independent.

Election 2024, Dave wasinger, Holly Thompson Rehder, Lieutenant Governor, Lincoln Hough, Paul Berry III, Tim Baker