JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Missouri House Speaker Steven Tilley formally launched a campaign for lieutenant governor Thursday while reporting a hefty campaign account containing more than $1 million.
Tilley, a Republican from Perryville, said his campaign will focus on job creation, education, seniors, veterans and government accountability. His official candidacy announcement, made in a series of interviews with the media, comes as no surprise given that Tilley converted his fundraising committee to reflect the lieutenant governor's bid last December.
Missouri's second-ranking executive office is likely to be open in the 2012 elections because Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is expected to challenge Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. The only other declared candidate so far is Democrat Becky Plattner, of Marshall, who is chairwoman of the Missouri Conservation Commission. Plattner also ran for lieutenant governor in 2008, losing in the Democratic primary.
Tilley is an aggressive fundraiser who served as House majority leader before taking over the chamber's top spot at the start of the 2011 session. He said he refrained from fundraising during the legislative session but raised $347,000 from the end of the session in mid-May until the end of the quarterly campaign finance reporting period on June 30. When added to money previously raised, Tilley said he has more than $1 million in his campaign account.