ST. LOUIS–Missouri Republicans are meeting in Springfield this weekend for the party’s annual Lincoln Days gathering, where the focus will be on celebrating the GOP’s hold on all statewide offices.
It will also serve as a place for potential candidates eyeing the ballot in 2024 to garner support and stake a claim, which may be the reason behind a pair of well-timed announcements this week.
A spokesman for House Speaker Dean Plocher R-Des Peres confirmed that Plocher is “laying the groundwork” for a run for Lt. Governor, with an official announcement expected after the current legislative session ends in May.
“Speaker Plocher will remain focused on serving the State of Missouri as the Speaker of the House and passing a strong conservative agenda that protects our constitutional freedoms, strengthens Missouri agriculture, and creates new opportunities for our small businesses and working Missourians that grow our economy,” Plocher spokesman Michael Hafner told Spectrum News, confirming what was first reported by The Missouri Times.
Plocher has also championed fighting crime as a legislative priority. On Thursday, the House passed a public safety bill that would allow the Governor to appoint a special prosecutor if certain violent crime metrics are hit.
Plocher would go into a statewide campaign well-funded, with a combined $1.2 million on hand between his campaign committee and a political action committee.
State Sen. Denny Hoskins R-Warrensburg shared on Twitter that he intends to be a statewide candidate in 2024. Hoskins, was a member of the Senate’s Conservative Caucus, which pushed to the right against Senate party leadership on issues like transgender athletes, parental rights in the classroom, and certain gubernatorial appointments. The group disbanded after last August’s primaries once it said voters had supported candidates who aligned with the Caucus to the point where it was no longer necessary.
Hoskins has gained recognition statewide as one of a handful of lawmakers who have taken a lead on sports gambling measures in recent years.
Hoskins’ social media post includes the fact that he’s a certified public accountant but does not specify which contest he might enter in 2024. He has roughly $216,000 combined cash on hand
Fellow former Conservative Caucus member State Sen. Bill Eigel R-St. Charles Co. is exploring a run for Governor against a field that will likely include Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft. Ashcroft has already said he will not seek re-election as Secretary of State.
Newly appointed State Treasurer Vivek Malek has already said he’ll seek election in his own right in 2024, but has never won elective office. The same is true for Attorney General Andrew Bailey, entering his second month on the job. Former federal prosecutor Will Scharf, an aide in the Greitens administration, has also announced his campaign for Attorney General.
Missouri Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick would not stand for re-election until 2026.