JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Republican state auditor candidate Jay Kanzler is taking a temporary leave of absence from his job at Washington University, a decision similar to one made by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jim Talent.
Kanzler, an associate general counsel at the St. Louis school, worked out a deal with university officials earlier this year allowing him to go on unpaid leave in September so he can concentrate on his campaign, a spokesman said Wednesday.
Kanzler faces Al Hanson in Tuesday's Republican primary and must win in order to challenge Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill in the Nov. 5 general election. Arnold Trembley of St. Louis is the Libertarian candidate.
"Prior to Jay making a run, he met with his employers and worked out an agreement that he wanted to run full-time because he was serious about winning the race," said Shawn Pinkston, Kanzler's political director. "He is making a commitment to being state auditor."
Pinkston said Kanzler would return to the university if he fails to win Tuesday or in November but would likely leave the university if he becomes state auditor.
Talent's campaign said Tuesday that the Republican was ending his $90,000-dollar a year teaching arrangement with the university a semester early to devote time to the campaign.
Talent's campaign said the decision was made after consulting with university officials.
Talent had been teaching a two-hour seminar class each semester called "Topics in American Politics: The Workings of Congress," which had been listed in this fall's course offerings.
M. Fred Volkmann, the university's vice chancellor for public affairs, said the university has a human resources policy saying employees should take leave if they cannot devote enough time to their job.
"There's an overall expectation at the university that if you are not performing your regular duties during accepted hours for those duties and you are not able to be at your job, the university expects you to take vacation, other time off or unpaid leave," Volkmann said.
Kanzler has been in his current position at Washington University for two years. Talent had been serving as Washington University's first Brookings Fellow, a two-year appointment set up in January of last year just after he ended his eight-year stint in the U.S. House.