Lt. Governor Peter Kinder was the sole Republican survivor of Tuesday’s blue sweep of Missouri’s statewide offices. As he assumes the role of leader of his party, his success should be taken as a lesson for future Republican candidates: reaching out pays off.
Kinder defeated his Democratic challeger, State Rep. Sam Page, by 74,034 votes. In St. Louis City, a Democratic stronghold, Kinder received more votes than any other Republican (19%), including Presidential candidate John McCain. The same is true for St. Louis County, where Kinder received 42% of the vote, compared to McCain’s 40%.
Most interesting, Kinder, who campaigned more in the black community than many Democratic candidates, clearly received more votes in north St. Louis’ black wards than any other Republican. For example, in the 1st Ward Kinder received 8% of the vote, compared to Gubernatorial candidate Kenny Hulshof’s 2% and McCain’s 0.8%.
Small numbers, but in close races, those small numbers make all the difference.
In wards seen as “progressive”, Kinder still earned high margins for a Republican. In the 6th Ward, Kinder earned 17% of the vote, compared to McCain’s 12.5% and Hulshof’s 11.5%. In the 28th Ward, Kinder received 23% of the vote.
Kinder capitalized on endorsements from African-American leaders and praise from high-ranking Democrats, including St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.
On Election Day, the Kinder campaign distributed fliers with Slay’s picture and quotes from a recent letter Slay wrote praising Kinder as “good for St. Louis”.
Here’s Kinder’s election night victory speech: