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Politically Speaking: Randles makes her case to become Missouri's next lieutenant governor

Bev Randles
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome lieutenant governor hopeful Bev Randles to the show.

The Kansas City Republican is one of four major candidates from both parties seeking the statewide office, which is being vacated by Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder. Randles is squaring off against state Sen. Mike Parson in the GOP primary, while former U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan and state Rep. Tommie Pierson are seeking the Democratic nomination.

(Carnahan and Pierson have both appeared on Politically Speaking. We have reached out to Parson’s campaign to figure out a date for when he’ll appear on the show.)

Randles is a native of Sikeston, Mo., and was the first person in her family to graduate from college. After getting her undergraduate degree from Murray State University, she earned her law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She worked at Shook, Hardy & Bacon before starting her own firm with her husband, Bill Randles.

When Bill Randles ran for governor in 2012, Bev Randles managed his campaign. He ultimately lost to businessman Dave Spence in a relatively low-profile GOP primary for governor. Soon after the 2012 election cycle ended, Bev Randles became the chairwoman of Missouri Club for Growth. In that role, she became the public face for an unsuccessful effort in 2013 to cut Missouri’s taxes. She was also appeared in 2014 ads for a constitutional amendment restricting when a governor could withhold money for state budget items.

Here’s what Randles had to say during the show:

  • Her husband's unsuccessful gubernatorial run taught her it is extremely difficult to run a credible statewide campaign without a reasonable amount of financing. Spence self-funded some of his campaign, which made it difficult for Bill Randles to compete financially.
  • She didn't have many interactions with Rex Sinquefield before the retired financer gave her campaign $1 million. "I had to go through the process that every other candidate has to go through or potential candidate has to go through in trying to get his support," Randles said. "We set up a meeting. That eventually happened a couple of months after we requested it — just to talk about if I run for office, could I count on his support?"
  • Randles is opposed to most tax credits, contending they are forms of corporate welfare. "The public rarely, if ever, really recoups the money for it," she said. "They're almost always a losing proposition."
  • Randles doesn't believe that likely GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump will have much an impact on her contest. "I think people are paying attention in this election to what's happening in Missouri," she said.
  • Randles is one of three major African-American candidates running for statewide office this cycle, besides Pierson and secretary of state hopeful Robin Smith. If she's able to outflank Parson and win a general election, Randles said it would be a "big boon" for the state. "The reason I got involved in Missouri politics at all was I wanted to grow the party," she said. "So I do see part of the benefit of me being elected to office is the ability to be able to do that. We've seen that in states like South Carolina with Nikki Haley and Tim Scott."

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Bev Randles on Twitter: @BevForLG

Music: "Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box" by Radiohead

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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