(KPLR) – Four Republicans seeking their party's nomination for Missouri governor tackled a wide range of issues Monday night in a live televised debate shown on FOX 2. WDAF FOX 4 in Kansas City, a sister station, and the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch joined in sponsoring the debate. Two outsiders and two experienced officeholders are vying for the top of the state GOP ticket.
Current Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, who has held that position for three terms, is the only potential nominee to have won a statewide election. Former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, who also served as the U.S. Attorney in St. Louis, has spent recent years as a practicing attorney. St. Louis businessman John Brunner points to his Marine Corps Officer service and his role as the CEO of a family company that operates in a minority area of St. Louis County. Retired U.S. Navy Seal Eric Greitens touts his outsider status as an advantage saying voters want to see a shake up in the state capital.
On the issue of crime all four candidates complained that the current and outgoing Democratic governor and the attorney general have failed to respond to the needs in urban areas.
Hanaway pointed to her service as a federal prosecutor saying she would stand firmly for law and order. Greitens pointed out even the Missouri State Highway Patrol staff does not feel it has the support of state leaders. Kinder repeatedly criticized Governor Jay Nixon and his administration. Kinder said "we have to have a pro active governor. He said Nixon "caved in to the Obama Justice Department and did not use the Missouri National Guard in Ferguson "during the unrest in 2014. Brunner indicated his skill at creating jobs would solve the growing crime problem by providing jobs for the unemployed.
Both Hanaway and Kinder called on Greitens to stop mischaracterizing their work in the state. Greitens has repeatedly called into question the role of veteran Missouri political leaders. He again said there is corruption in Jefferson City although he did not give any specific examples. Hanaway accused him of not understanding how police work is accomplished. But he pointed to consulting work he did with police organizations that included training for community relations.
FOX 2 has extended a similar debate invitation to the Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls, but has not yet received responses from all of the candidates.