JEFFERSON CITY _ Choosing to channel his energies into gaining Republican control of the Missouri General Assembly, Senate Republican Floor Leader Franc Flotron announced he will not seek the GOP nomination for governor in 1996.
"Only recently has the numbers gap between Democrats and Republicans in Missouri Senate and House narrowed to the point where we are within striking distance of a majority," said Flotron, R-St. Louis County. "I intend to focus my full attention on that goal."
Democrats have a four vote edge in the Missouri Senate, and have maintained their majority since 1949. The GOP has not held a House majority since 1954.
Several top state Republicans had encouraged him to enter the race to unseat Democratic Gov. Mel Carnahan.
But in an interview, Flotron acknowledged that fund raising difficulties created by the state's new campaign finance law was a major factor in his decision to forgo a gubernatorial campaign.
Flotron said the law, which imposes severe limits on campaign contributions, would have made it impossible to raise enough money to mount a creditable campaign against Carnahan.
"The campaign finance laws right now require that you be independently wealthy or have consider personal means. And I am not of either of those categories," Flotron said in an interview.
The Senate Republican Leader complained the law favors incumbents like Carnahan who amassed large campaign war chests prior to the effective date of the new law.
The two major Republicans who have expressed interest in the gubernatorial campaign are State Auditor Margaret Kelly and Sen. Bill Kenney, R-Lee's Summit _ the former quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Flotron said he had absolutely no commitments to any candidate yet.
"My decision not to run should help determine a natural front-runner."