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Danforth to headline fundraising event for Cole McNary, GOP candidate for treasurer

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 23, 2012 - Retired U.S. Sen. John C. Danforth, R-Mo., is getting back into politics – at least, on the endorsement front – by co-hosting a fundraising event March 7 at the Bogey Club for state Rep. Cole McNary, a St. Louis County Republican who’s running for state treasurer.

McNary is the son of former St. Louis County Executive Gene McNary, who also is among the co-sponsors of the event.

Others on the sponsor list include local lawyers Jerry Hunter and John Maupin – and businessman Dave Spence, who’s seeking the Republican nomination for governor.

McNary is likely to repeat at least some of his presentation at the state GOP’s Lincoln Days event last weekend in Kansas City,  where McNary told party leaders at a candidate forum that they needed to help him in his quest this fall to defeat the Democratic incumbent, state Treasurer Clint Zweifel.

McNary quipped that he did not even want to mention Zweifel’s name, and observed that Zweifel has been successfully raising money over the last couple years. Zweifel’s latest campaign report showed him with almost $803,000 in the bank – a hefty sum for a down-ballot raice.

McNary said that he was likely the GOP’s last best hope to knock off Zweifel before he ran for governor in 2016. (Zweifel has not indicated his intentions, but his fat bank account has fed speculation.)

McNary observed that Zweifel used to be a staff member for the local Teamsters union. “He’s supported by the unions and trial attorneys,’’ McNary said. “This is an opportunity to take him out.”

Otherwise, said McNary, the state could end up with “Governor ‘Teamster.’ ”

Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.