Antonio has a guy at Lincoln Days so that you didn’t have to go yourself. It turns out there was big news to be made, and not of the gaffe variety, either. Peter Kinder is out of the governor’s race.

It’s not too surprising, even though Kinder was the first to throw his hat in the ring after Blunt’s exit. After all, he’s the most tied to Blunt legacy, a powerful machine that managed to catapult Mitt Romney into third place in Missouri’s presidential primary. (Kinder himself endorsed Thompson as a Reaganesque figure. I’m guessing he was thinking of Reagan waking up from a long nap, or after a big turkey dinner and a little red wine.)

Still, from Kinder’s speech, it’s all too clear that he wants to keep the Blunt flame alive:

“This is a campaign I believe I would have won, but I also believe in my heart that this is the right decision. I hope it will help our Party unite so together we can tell Missourians a remarkable story of how together we turned our state around by turning a $1.1 billion deficit into three straight surpluses without raising taxes, ended the cuts to education while increasing funding for classrooms, transformed Missouri’s health care system and helped bring nearly 90,000 new jobs to our state by supporting job-creating initiatives and investing in tourism as we did by bringing the Tour of Missouri to our state. [My emphasis]

Yeah, Missouri Republicans transformed the health care system all right – by cutting out needy families. And the 90,000 jobs created figure sounds nice, until you compare it to historical averages.

Notice that in the first two years of Mel Carnahan’s first term, Missouri added over 150,000 jobs. In the last two years of his second term, Missouri added over 100,000 jobs. Blunt’s administration has added 90,000 in 3 years, and jobs have actually decreased lately. So yeah, I hope Republicans take Kinder’s advice to run on Blunt’s legacy: “No health care for you, but you get a bike race and maybe a job!”