FRONTENAC, MO (KPLR)-- Republican Dave Spence is challenging Libertarian Jim Higgins and incumbent Democratic Governor Jay Nixon for Missouri`s highest elected office. In his first-ever campaign; Spence defeated fellow Republicans Bill Randles, Fred Sauer and John Weiler in the primary for the party`s nomination.
Spence is a St. Louis business owner who has spent more than $6 million of his own money to finance his campaign. The race took a nasty turn when Spence sued Nixon for defamation over what he called misleading television commercials. The dispute is over Spence`s role as a board member of Reliance Bancshares, and specifically Spence`s vote to delay repayment of federal bank bailout money.
Spence maintains he was acting on the advice of federal regulators, not out of any personal financial self-interest.
While almost all polls have given Nixon a comfortable lead throughout the campaign, in late October the race began to tighten in several statewide surveys.