Joplin’s Ron Richard, I guarantee it, will run for Missouri governor in 2016, after the departure of Democrat Jay Nixon.
Right now he is doing time in the Missouri Senate, after being elected to a four-year term in 2010. He previously served as the speaker of the Missouri House until term limits forced him to jump, and jump rather easily since he had exactly no opposition, into the upper chamber, where he now holds the number two leadership post for the Republicans.
Some of you may recall that more than three years ago, Tony Messenger of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Richard, who started his now permanent political career on the Joplin City Council, had his long-term eyes on Missouri’s top prize:
Speaking to the Political Fix at Lincoln Days, Richard said that he has pondered a possible run for governor in 2016. That would be midway through a possible second term in the state Senate, and the scenario assumes that current Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, wins a second term in 2012, where he is likely to face Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican.
“I’d like to be on the short list and see what happens,” Richard said.
Even though Richard later denied being interested in running for governor in 2016, Messenger stood by his reporting, saying that Republican Lt. Governor Peter Kinder “was a little miffed when he read of Richard’s political plans,” which led to Richard backing away from what he said. Today, though, Peter Kinder’s political stock in the state has fallen considerably, mostly at the hands and, uh, other body parts, of an exotic dancer.
So, it appears Richard can run conscience-free in 2016 for the vacant governorship. But that’s not why I am certain he will run. It was the nice and cozy piece I saw in the Joplin Globe today that convinced me. It began this way:
State Sen. Ron Richard on Thursday said he has started drafting a new gun rights bill to replace a controversial measure that failed Wednesday when it fell one vote short of a veto override in the Missouri Senate.
Richard, R-Joplin, the Senate majority floor leader, was one of two Republican senators who voted against the override in the Legislature’s veto session.
Obviously, even though Richard was stupidly in favor of the bill before he was wisely against it, no Republican candidate can be caught voting against a “gun rights” bill—even a machine-gun rights bill—and live to tell about it, so Richard is fast at work on repairing the damage:
His goal in the new legislation, Richard said, will be a bill that “protects the First and Second amendments, doesn’t hinder law enforcement in doing their jobs, and doesn’t end up challenged in court as soon as it’s enacted.”
The would-be governor also noted to the Globe that the National Rifle Association—yep!—has offered to help write the new version of the bill.
I rest my case.