Republican Missouri lieutenant governor and 8th Congressional District candidate Peter Kinder declared that “‘assault weapons’ is a misused term used by suburban soccer moms who do not understand what is being discussed here” during a Republican primary forum in Salem, Mo., Thursday, the Missouri News Horizon reported.
Kinder made his anti-gun control statement during a forum at Salem City Hall in which all 12 major GOP candidates for the 8th Congressional District seat being vacated next month by retiring Republican Rep. Jo Ann Emerson attempted to prove their conservative credentials.
The Republican nominee for the seat will be decided by the 86 voting members of the 8th District Republican committee, and will immediately become the heavy general election front-runner in the strongly Republican district.
Gun control has been a hot topic in the race as the Obama administration and congressional Democrats aim to renew the nationwide assault weapons ban, or possibly take more sweeping gun control measures in the aftermath of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
The congressional candidates appeared on stage one by one, answering the same five questions. Kinder, however, was asked an extra question about why he wants to leave the lieutenant governor’s office for a job in Washington. He replied that he has a passion for federal issues, like stopping Obamacare.
“The question was asked about the Lt. Governor’s office vacancy and he was able to answer it well,” according to an analysis by the Missouri Times.
Kinder also reminded the crowd that in his last statewide lieutenant governor race he won 109 of 114 counties. “I do that by not ignoring the small counties,” he said.
Kinder, a close personal friend of Karl Rove who was first elected Missouri’s lieutenant governor in 2004, made a concerted effort during the forum to appeal to the district’s committee members, some of whom have turned on him in recent weeks in favor of either Jason Smith or Todd Richardson, state representatives and grassroots candidates who also participated in the forum.
Insiders told The Daily Caller last week that Kinder is one of the “faces of the Republican establishment” in Missouri, and that eighth district Republicans have long felt like the “redheaded stepchild” of the state party.
Though considered the early front-runner for the Republican nomination, Kinder’s candidacy has been hurt by the perception that Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon will appoint Kinder’s replacement to the lieutenant governor’s office if Kinder is elected to Congress, costing Republicans their top leader at the state capitol. Nixon told local reporters that he believes he has the legal authority to appoint Kinder’s replacement, but Republicans have disagreed.
A spokesman for Kinder’s campaign told TheDC last week that Nixon will “absolutely not” make the unprecedented move of appointing a new lieutenant governor instead of holding a special election, because public opinion will turn strongly against him if he does.