Spence also gave an outline of his platform and plans if elected before a group of Missouri Farm Bureau members.
The Republican businessman from St. Louis County, making his first political run, spoke to organization members at their local office for about 90 minutes. He jumped topics to cover criticisms of the Democratic governor and his administration to the state's economy and the use of tax credits to education.
As he did in last month's debate against Nixon sponsored by the Missouri Press Association, Spence accused the governor of serving only special interests.
"He's in the tank for unions and personal-injury attorneys," Spence said.
Spence said he actually did not want to file suit against the governor over the content of a negative campaign ad that claims Spence took out a mortgage on a vacation home using his role as board member for a bank that took federal TARP funds
Spence said he doesn't like frivolous lawsuits, He claims his profit came from an investment he made with his own money while on the bank board with a capital raise long after the bank already had accepted the funds.
"I was asked to join that board after they took it," he said.
Spence said he felt "taken a little bit" by the bank and left the board.
Democrats argue Spence voted not to repay the bailout and has lied about his involvement with the bank.
"Instead of filing frivolous lawsuits, Spence should simply explain to voters why he has a vacation home, while taxpayers are still out $40 million," said Isaac Wright, Missouri Democratic Party spokesman, in an emailed statement Wednesday.
During the course of conversation with organization members, Spence promised that if elected he will appoint leaders in state departments -- such as the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Economic Development -- who are representative of citizens' interests, which he said he views as moving toward being more conservative statewide. He touted his reasons for running as possessing good business sense and common sense.
Spence said he supports making Missouri a right-to-work state and said tort reform and ethics reform are needed, along with "responsible" use of tax credits to foster economic development.
The challenger said he would like to model his financial plan for the state after the moves of Republican Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. He credited Daniels with a budget surplus in his state. He said he would apply the tactical style of Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to situations in Missouri with unaccredited schools and federal regulations he claims limit the abilities of farmers and businesspeople.
Polling earlier this month showed Nixon leading Spence by up to 19 points.
Spence also visited the Jackson Senior Center on Wednesday. Next week, Spence will continue traveling throughout the state.
406 W. Washington St., Jackson, MO
2690 Travelers Way, Jackson, MO