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Missouri GOP hopefuls barnstorm across Show-Me State in a bus

Marshall Griffin
St. Louis Public Radio

Most of the Republican nominees for statewide offices in Missouri are touring the state together in a bus Tuesday and Wednesday.

The first stop was outside the GOP’s campaign office in Jefferson City. Those onboard Tuesday morning included Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, who's seeking a third term in office; Secretary of State hopeful Shane Schoeller; Attorney General nominee Ed Martin; CongressmanBlaine Luetkemeyer, whose district will include Jefferson City next year; State Treasurer nominee Cole McNary; and the Republican hoping to oust Democrat Jay Nixonfrom the Governor’s office, Dave Spence.

“We’ve already borrowed $100 million against the (state's) Rainy Day Fund, (and) the budget just started July First," Spence told the crowd of about 80 people, a few of whom gasped at that figure. "What don’t we understand about that we’re robbing Peter to pay Paul, and we are not hearing the truth (from the Nixon Administration).”

In response, Isaac Wright with the Missouri Democratic Party called the bus tour “cute.”

"When is Dave Spence going to tell Missourians what happened to the $40 million bailout that his bank took and refused to repay?" Wright said in a written statement.

The bus tour's second stop took place Tuesday afternoon in Lee's Summit. It has stops scheduled Wednesday in Joplin, Springfield, Fenton and St. Peters. Republican U.S. Senate nominee Todd Akin is expected to take part as well, although he was not present Tuesday morning in Jefferson City.

Missouri Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a proud alumnus of the University of Mississippi (a.k.a., Ole Miss), and has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off the old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Mason, and their cat, Honey.