Republican Hanaway to run for Missouri governor in 2016

JEFFERSON CITY — Former U.S. Attorney and Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway announced on Monday that she is running for governor in 2016 as Republicans seek to recapture an office they have held just once in the past two decades.

Hanaway is the first Republican to enter the gubernatorial race, giving her a chance to build a campaign network and bank account that could cause other potential GOP candidates to think twice. Yet she will be starting from behind financially compared with Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster, who has been building a gubernatorial campaign for almost a year already.

“I am announcing today that I’m running for governor because I feel like our state’s stuck in neutral if not rolling backwards,” Hanaway said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“The Democrats have an unopposed kind of quasi nominee already who is working very hard to put together his political operation,” Hanaway added. “I think letting time pass makes it more difficult to win. I’m trying to build the best grass-roots organization ever in Missouri.”

Missouri’s top executive office will open because Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon is barred by term limits from seeking re-election.

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