JEFFERSON CITY - The top Republican candidate for lieutenant governor charged late Wedneday afternoon that Missouri Senate Minority Leader Ken Jacob was "coaxed" into running for the position by State Auditor Claire McCaskill.
Peter Kinder, the Senate president pro tem, remarked that McCaskill is pushing for Jacob to run to help her bid for governor.
McCaskill has said she is considering a primary challenge against Gov. Bob Holden, but has not yet made a formal announcement. McCaskill was unavailable for comment on Kinder's remarks.
Jacob denied the statement. "Peter Kinder's speculation about Democrats is Republican propaganda," the Columbia senator said.
Jacob cited conversations with Lt. Gov. Joe Maxwell, who announced he would not seek re-election to spend more time with his ailing wife, as helping him decide to join the race.
Jacob said that being lieutenant governor is one of few positions in government that he would be willing to seek because it allows more interaction with the people of Missouri.
"In legislation you fight for an idea...but as lieutenant governor, there is so much you can do for the individual."
Kinder has not been short on speculations in the past few days, making remarks about former Missouri Secretary of State Bekki Cook's announcement on Monday to run for the position.
"I think this is about a campaign for governor for (Cook) in four years."
Cook said that she may run for governor later on, but "the first task at hand is to be elected lieutenant governor."
Kinder referred to Jacob and Cook as friends, though sometimes sparring partners on political issues.
Cook was appointed secretary of state in December of 1994 to replace the impeached Judy Moriarty. Cook was elected to one full-year term as secretary of state, but declined to run for re-election in order to spend more time with her family in Cape Girardeau.
The Democratic lawyer said that with her children now in college, she had more time to spend on politics and public office.