Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R) is depicted as a cartoon bobblehead on a stripper pole in a new ad from the campaign of his Democratic opponent.
The ad, which former state Auditor Susan Montee's campaign debuted Tuesday evening, shows Kinder's head on a cartoon body in a series of scenes showcasing a stripper scandal and a controversy over the amount of tax dollars he spent on hotel rooms. Kinder and Montee are locked in a competitive race for the Show Me state's number two spot. Montee sent an email to supporters Tuesday afternoon asking for money to keep the bobblehead ad on television statewide.
"Everyone I meet, Democrat or Republican, says Missouri can't take four more years of Peter Kinder," Montee wrote in the email. "If my television ads keep playing until the election, I promise you I will win the race for Lieutenant Governor."
In the email, Montee says that a 30-second commercial on a newscast in St. Louis costs $1,200 and asks donors for $40 to pay for a second or $4 to fund a tenth of a second. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Monday that the candidates are close in cash on hand; Montee reported $270,000 and Kinder reported $267,911 on Monday, with Kinder outraising Montee in the last fundraising quarter.
Kinder's campaign spokesman, Logan Thompson, declined to comment on the ad Wednesday morning saying he wanted to discuss the ad with Kinder first.
Kinder, a two-term Republican from Cape Girardeau, dropped a planned race for governor late last year following reports that he billed the state for luxury hotel rooms he stayed in during political trips and that he had a relationship with a stripper, who he invited to move into a St. Louis condo he rented using campaign funds. Kinder reimbursed the state for the hotel rooms.
The stripper, Tammy Chapman, said Kinder made romantic advances while a state senator in the 1990s. Kinder, who is single, said he and friends would stop by the strip club where she worked after St. Louis Cardinals games, but that he never received a lap dance from Chapman, only watched her dance on stage.
Chapman told the Riverfront Times in 2011 that Kinder appeared at a bar where she was bartending in St. Louis and offered her the opportunity to move into the condo. Kinder denied offering the condo to Chapman, saying he stopped in the bar to use the bathroom and then had a glass of wine when he noticed Chapman behind the bar.
Last year, Kinder's car was stolen after he left his keys in it. The car was rammed into a gun shop and used for a trip to buy food from McDonald's before being torched, the Southeast Missourian newspaper reported.
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UPDATE: 2:49 p.m. -- Kinder's campaign responded to Montee's commercial by releasing a 2010 video of Montee taken at a Democratic event in Hannibal sipping a margarita. In the three-minute video, which was shot at a Democrat Days event in March 2010 and posted on YouTube in October of that year, Montee is seen talking about the event and a margarita machine used by the Steelworkers union, then joking about purchasing her own machine.
"That is so good. I think we got a new idea." Montee says in the video. "Margarita machine fundraiser."
Montee dismissed the video in a 2010 interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch saying that she was "at a social event being social" and that the video's release was an attempt to influence her 2010 reelection campaign for auditor. Montee lost the 2010 race to Republican Tom Schweich.
On Wednesday, Montee spokesman John Knoll reiterated Montee's comments from 2010 and said the video received little press coverage in 2010. "That video was Susan being social at a social event," Knoll told HuffPost.