Updated at 3:38 p.m.
Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R) will announce Friday afternoon that he will not run for governor in 2012, but will instead seek re-election to his current post, according to sources familiar with his plans.
The announcement is set for 4 p.m. Eastern time. At that time, Kinder will throw his support in the governor’s race to businessman Dave Spence.
That alternative, Spence, emerged in recent weeks and officially launched his campaign earlier this week.
“I believe after numerous conversations with Dave Spence that he is the Republican Party’s best chance of defeating Jay Nixon,” Kinder is set to say. “I am proud to call him a friend and will do everything in my power to see that he’s elected governor next year.”
Meanwhile, the GOP slot in the lieutenant governor’s race opened up last week when state House Speaker Steven Tilley (R) dropped out, citing his desire to spend more time with his family.
Kinder will be seeking his third term as lieutenant governor.
Republicans have struggled to recruit top-flight candidates in the Show Me State, despite some good opportunities in the gubernatorial and Senate races.
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