Missouri Lt. Gov Kinder faces stripper accusations

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is facing allegations of frequenting a Metro East strip club while a Missouri State Senator in the 1990s.

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, widely believed to be a challenger to incumbent Governor Jay Nixon in next year’s gubernatorial election, is now facing allegations of frequenting a Metro East strip club while he a Missouri state senator.

Former Penthouse Pet and current bartender Tracy Chapman, 39, said in an interview with St. Louis magazine The Riverfront Times that Kinder would often receive dances from her 16 years ago while he was a rising senator in the Missouri state legislature.

A picture featuring Chapman and Kinder at Verlin’s, a south-city bar where she worked at the time, was published on the Riverfront Times website Aug. 5. She alleges that Kinder also invited her to live with him in his Brentwood apartment, which is paid for through Kinder’s campaign committee, according to the Missouri Ethics Commission’s website.

Chapman also accused Kinder of occasionally exhibiting aggressive behavior when she gave him private dances.

"He'd pull me down to his groin — really, really hard, to the point that it hurt me," Chapman told The Riverfront Times.

This is the second time Kinder has faced public scrutiny this year. This spring, he was forced to repay $52,000 to taxpayers after it was revealed that Kinder had been using taxpayer money to fund his stays in various St. Louis hotels over the course of five years.

“Like most people, I am not proud of every place I have been, but this woman's bizarre story is not true,” Kinder said in a statement released Aug. 11, and published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Jay Nixon may want to make up false stories about the past, but I, like most Missourians, remain focused on the issues that are important to Missourians like jobs and education.”

MU political science professor John Petrocik said this recent blow will most likely affect Kinder’s campaign negatively, but the question is to what degree and how the scandals will be brought up come election time.

“The key will be how it gets raised and how much salience can be created among voters,” Petrocik said. “The press and similar ‘public watchdogs’ will need to get it into the public discourse and raise its salience because it is always a challenge for a candidate to raise these kinds of moral issues against an opponent.”

Kinder’s spokesman Jay Eastlick and campaign committee spokesman Jared Craighead did not respond for repeated requests for comment.

Kinder remained adamant in his statement about denying Chapman’s charges and staying concentrated on the issues for next year’s election. He said Democrats have tried to use these tactics against him in the past and they have failed.

“Our schools are failing, our families are hurting and I will remain focused on talking about the issues that will move Missouri forward,” Kinder said in his statement.

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