Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Icet and Schweich Battle for GOP Backing

State representative Allen Icet (R-Wildwood) and Thomas Schweich have both declared their candidacy for Missouri state auditor and will face off in the Republican primary election in August of 2010. Presumably the winner of this primary will go on to face incumbent Democrat Susan Montee. The auditor is one of only two statewide offices up for election in Missouri in 2010 (the other being a U.S. Senate seat) and Icet and Schweich are both credible candidates for the race.

2008 saw a bitter Republican primary in the race for Governor between U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof and state Treasurer Sarah Steelman. In that race it was the establishment candidate vs. the outsider, with Rep. Hulshof having the backing of most of the state's GOP leadership. The auditor race will not be a repeat of that, as the two candidates have both been successful so far in lining up establishment support for the nomination. To date, Icet has the endorsement of 80 state representatives and 4 state senators. Today Schweich announced that he was endorsed by Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, the only Republican holding statewide office in Missouri at this time.

Both Icet and Schweich have resumes that give them credibility in their quest for the job of auditor. This is the first race that former ambassador and professor Schweich has run, while Icet is serving his 4th term in the Missouri House and was the budget chairman. Schweich has just entered the race, so he did not have to file an Missouri Ethics Committee report for last quarter, but it appears that he will have the funding to mount a well funded campaign. Since campaign donation limits were repealed in Missouri, the influence of a handful of donors could be a major wild card in this race.

The timing of Icet has been interesting so far. Just after Schweich announced that he would not be seeking the U.S. Senate seat up for election and word leaked that he was thinking about the auditor's race Icet jumped in. This gave Icet the ability to echo the call for Republican unity from a major GOP fundraiser and rode the news cycle on the auditor. Then on the day that Schweich announces he is running Icet announces that he has the endorsement of 80 state Representatives and 4 state Senators.

I fully agree with Steve Walsh: "No matter what ... this has the makings of a very interesting race."

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