ALSO: Says "Dust-Up" Will Supercharge This Year's Race
Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder said the "dust-up" over the possible cancellation of this year's Tour of Missouri will have a supercharge effect on the cycling race now less than three months away.
Kinder held a Tuesday afternoon conference call to thank the volunteers, supporters and media who helped rally to save the 2009 tour from a $1.5 million dollar cut that would have halted the race. Gov. Nixon announced Tuesday that he would release the state funds for the event, but called for more "transparency and accountability."
Kinder made sure to note that the race was "threatened by actions of the Nixon administration," but said he was thrilled to now be able to call the Governor a supporter of the Tour. "I am delighted by the news today that Governor Nixon . . . has released the funds," Kinder said, adding that he was "especially delighted" to welcome Nixon to the ranks of supporters.
Kinder also took note of video posted by The Notebook last week of then-candidate Nixon taking a shot at the race during a Chamber of Commerce meeting in Springfield last September.
Kinder said those comments showed Nixon "ridiculing and casting aspersions on the Tour of Missouri." He said today marks the first indication that Nixon is a supporter of the effort.
"It is not my victory. It is your victory," Kinder told supporters on the call.
Kinder did not directly address Nixon's remarks about greater accountability and transparency. He only said that an economic impact study would be included evaluating this year's race.
*UPDATE @5:23 PM: Kinder spokesman Gary McElyea notes that Kinder did address the transparency charge: "The organizers and planners of this race have always operated above the board, and been completely transparent with the state, cities and media…. That will continue," Kinder said.
Kinder also said the dust-up over the race would "supercharge" the event, possibly luring a half a million spectators to the state in September.
ALSO, according to the Lt. Gov's office:
*The Tour of Missouri website crashed this afternoon, due to a record amount of hits.
*836 e-mails were sent to Gov. Nixon through the Tour of Missouri website (that doesn't include emails transmitted other ways.)
*"It's not fair for the Governor to make the statement that the Tour is now willing to provide documents. Tour of Missouri Inc. has always said they're happy to provide any budget documents, and in many cases have provided them to the media," said McElyea, responding to Nixon's statement.
*Kinder's office first found out about Nixon's decision through another reporter. McElyea said Nixon told Kinder Friday that their staffs would communicate about his decision. Kinder and Nixon did not speak Tuesday.
*Kinder's call did not include a question and answer session*