JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has decided not to run for a southeast Missouri congressional seat next year.
Kinder announced his decision in a written statement Friday, about a month after he publicly said he was considering a congressional bid.
A campaign would have meant a primary challenge against Republican U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, who won a special election for the 8th Congressional District in June.
Kinder noted in his statement that campaigns can be physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. He said, quote: "An all-out run for Congress over the next year just isn't in the cards."
Kinder was elected last year to his third term as lieutenant governor. He said he plans to serve the remainder of the term, which runs until January 2017.
Read Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder's full statement:
"After much prayer and consideration, I have decided to end the month-long, exploratory phase on an 8th District congressional candidacy by forgoing a race in 2014.
This was a difficult decision. For 200 years dating back to the days of the Missouri Territory, both sides of my family have called Southeast Missouri home. My roots and my heart are in the 8th District of Southern Missouri. The opportunity for public service in Congress during this time of national crisis for the survival of liberty is one I felt the need to explore.
And this impulse I felt all the more, given one salient fact. This astounding fact pertains to voters in the big majority of counties now comprising the 8th District: Voters have had only one chance to choose their Member of Congress, in open primaries on both sides following an incumbent's retirement -- with plenty of notice to all -- in the 68 years since the end of World War II. That singular chance occurred 46 years ago next year -- in 1968. No other congressional district of which I'm aware has a history this lacking in chances for the voters actually to decide. The circumstances, late last year, of the incumbent's announcing her retirement four weeks after being re-elected guaranteed that this lamentable history would be extended yet again.
For me, though, there have been six campaigns -- one every four years -- since my first Senate run in 1992. These include three grueling statewide campaigns, in each of which I came from behind. Ask anyone who's done it: A statewide race is exhausting physically, mentally, emotionally. An all-out run for Congress over the next year just isn't in the cards.
Politics isn't everything. In the midst of its sometimes frenzied demands, one feels the tug of Holy Scripture: "Be still and know that I am God." Sometimes this injunction is flatly incompatible with the pitiless imperatives of the political calendar.
I am deeply humbled by the many citizens who have urged me to run, who've pledged their financial support, and I thank them for their confidence. I regret that this decision will disappoint them.
When I arrived in Jefferson City in 1993, the Democrats boasted what seemed permanent, decades-long majorities in the General Assembly. After a few years of very hard work, those majorities vanished, replaced by what once seemed impossible: Today's huge Republican majorities. Working with so many others, I am proud of the role I played in bringing conservative governance to Missouri. We changed the course of events. In the words of my hero, Ronald Reagan, "We weren't just marking time."
That work continues. I have been humbled by the confidence Missouri voters have placed in me, with my being the only Republican statewide official elected in both 2008 and 2012. I made a commitment, and I will keep that commitment to serve these four years, and beyond."