News Briefs

Republican state senator launches bid for Missouri lieutenant governor

By: - July 11, 2023 9:17 am

Sen. Holly Rehder, R-Scott City (photo by Tim Bommel/Missouri House Communications)

A longtime Republican state lawmaker announced Tuesday she is running for Missouri lieutenant governor. 

Holly Thompson Rehder, who served eight years in a Sikeston-based Missouri House seat before being elected to the state Senate in 2020, will run to replace Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe. 

Kehoe is giving up his office to run for governor next year. 

In announcing her candidacy, she specifically pointed to legislation she sponsored this year that was signed into law to prohibit transgender athletes from competing in sports that align with their gender identity.

“I am running for Missouri lieutenant governor because I want to better the lives of all Missourians by unabashedly protecting sacred Christian and Conservative values,” she said in a press release. 

Thompson Rehder, 53, is a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications. In 2004, she co-founded a cable telecommunications contracting company, Integrity Communications, and later worked for the Missouri Cable Telecommunications Association.

Her campaign announcement noted that at 16, she was a “high school dropout and supporting her first child and made the decision that her daughter would not grow up in the harsh poverty cycle of America as she had.”

“I don’t shy from hard work,” she said, “and I won’t be outworked running for lieutenant governor.”

In joining the lieutenant governor primary,  Thompson Rehder sets up a potential showdown with House Speaker Dean Plocher, a Des Peres Republican who is also vying for the office. On the Democrat side, state Rep. Richard Brown of Kansas City has filed paperwork with the Missouri Ethics Commission indicating a run for lieutenant governor. 

During her time in the Senate, Thompson Rehder has had several high-profile showdowns with the chamber’s conservative caucus. Last year, she led a bipartisan group of lawmakers who condemned the tactics of the conservative caucus that resulted in years of gridlock in the Senate. 

The caucus disbanded in late 2022, but many of its members continued to tussle with GOP Senate leadership, effectively derailing the final week of the 2023 session and resulting in few bills being passed than any non-COVID session in decades.

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Jason Hancock
Jason Hancock

Jason Hancock has spent two decades covering politics and policy for news organizations across the Midwest, with most of that time focused on the Missouri statehouse as a reporter for The Kansas City Star. A three-time National Headliner Award winner, he helped launch The Missouri Independent in October 2020.