Holden's bid for re-election endorsed by Cleaver, Shields

Thursday, October 30, 2003

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Former Kansas City Mayor Emanuel Cleaver and Jackson County Executive Katheryn Shields on Wednesday endorsed Gov. Bob Holden in his campaign for re-election.

Cleaver and Shields, both prominent Kansas City area Democrats, said they will lead Holden's re-election campaign in Jackson County -- where his Democratic challenger, Claire McCaskill, served as county prosecutor from 1993 until being elected state auditor in 1998.

McCaskill last week announced that she will run against Holden, currently in his first term, in the August 2004 Democratic primary. The expected Republican nominee is Secretary of State Matt Blunt.

"I like Claire McCaskill; I've supported her in every election she's been in," said Cleaver, who was Kansas City's first black mayor and served two terms from 1991 to 1999. "This has nothing to do with Claire. This has everything to do with Bob Holden. There is no question in my mind that we need to maintain the kind of momentum that is building in Jefferson City with the person who is building that momentum -- and it is Bob Holden."

Shields said she could think of at least a dozen Democrats who "would be better governors than any possible Republican candidate."

"But," she added, "the thing to focus on is that we already have a Democratic governor who is a better candidate than any possible Republican that might run for that office."

Opponent speaks out

McCaskill's campaign spokesman, Glenn Campbell, said he was not surprised that Cleaver and Shields had endorsed Holden.

"It's one of those things that, over the course of the campaign, certainly with a sitting governor, I think that there are going to be some elected officials that are going to feel the need to come out and endorse Governor Holden," Campbell said.

McCaskill received the endorsement of former Gov. Roger Wilson last week when McCaskill announced her intention to run against Holden.

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