Political Fracas: Who is Dave Spence, really?
The Kansas City Star
Two weeks before the primary election for Missouri governor, Republican candidate Dave Spence is pretty much of an enigma in the Kansas City area. In fact, he received zero campaign contributions from this area in the last reporting period.
Here’s the nutshell scoop on Spence: When it became apparent that Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder had too much baggage to take on Democratic incumbent Jay Nixon, Spence, a wealthy businessman from the St. Louis suburbs, volunteered to take on the task.
He’s made enough money running Alpha Packaging, a St. Louis plastics manufacturing firm to kickstart his campaign fund. But while Spence would prefer to boast about his business experience, Democrats are much more interested in his tenure on the board of Reliance Bancshares, a bank that received a TARP loan and failed to repay it.
Spence initially said he left the board because he was concerned about the vote not to repay the loan. But then it turned out he actually participated in the vote to not pay it. And then it was disclosed that bank, while not repaying its loan, had given $40 million in loans to board members and executives, including Spence.
Spence has said he purchased shares of the bank and used $4 million of his own money to help it raise capital and repay the TARP loan. But that hasn’t stopped the questions.
Another thing you hear about Spence is that he’s hard to pin down on issues. On his campaign website, he pledges to “bring failed government back to reality by standing up for everyday Missourians and using a healthy dose of common sense,” for example, and criticizes policies like cap and trade, which are really Washington issues, not Missouri issues.
On economic policy, Spence says that “people will try to tell you that getting our economy back on track is more complicated than it really is.” But other than citing his personal job-creating experience, he doesn’t really say what he’d do differently than Nixon.
So what do you think? Has Spence put the Reliance Bancshares controversy to rest? Does he stand a chance against Nixon? Do you want an action plan or will his business resume suffice? Spence is visiting with The Star’s ed board today. We’ll see if we can get some specifics out of him.