Hanson leads in surprise GOP primary for auditor

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Despite a criminal record and a lack of campaign money, Al Hanson of Concordia led Jay Kanzler in Tuesday's stunning Republican primary for state auditor.

With 30 percent of precincts reporting, Hanson had 66 percent of the vote compared to 34 percent for Kanzler. Hanson has won or was leading in all counties reporting results.

Hanson, 72, has touted his background in finances as one of his strengths, including his work at the Minnesota Grain Exchange. One of his daughters, Shari Weber, is the House majority leader in Kansas.

Hanson was previously convicted of felony theft in one Minnesota county and theft by swindle in another. He served nine months in prison in 1978.

Hanson, who has declined to discuss the past charges, has neither raised nor spent more than $1,000 for the race and he had little or no advertising.

Kanzler, 41, the general counsel at the university, had raised more than $107,000 for his campaign, much of it coming from the state Republican Party.

Kanzler also recently announced that he would be taking a leave from the school to campaign full-time if he has won Tuesday's primary.

The winner of the race will face Democratic State Auditor Claire McCaskill in the Nov. 5 general elections.

McCaskill had no Democratic opponent in Tuesday's primary and is considered a strong bet for re-election in the Nov. 5 general election. McCaskill has publicly stated that she is interested in running for governor in 2008.

Libertarian candidate Arnold Trembley, who had no opposition in the primary, also will be challenging McCaskill in the November general election.

The state auditor is responsible for audits of all state-funded institutions, state agencies and most Missouri counties. While the office has no regulatory authority, state agencies more often than not comply with audit recommendations.

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