Jefferson City car dealer Mike Kehoe has helped the political careers of others. Now he wants one of his own.
"We're here to announce that I am running for Missouri's 6th Senate seat," Kehoe told cheering supporters Thursday afternoon. He stood on a wooden stage with red, white and blue banners.
Kehoe, a Republican, is best known for his car commercials where he says, "mid-Missouri loves a Mike Kehoe deal." Now, he wants to take state politics for a test drive.
The 6th District Senate seat he's vying for covers five mid-Missouri counties: Cole, Callaway, Moniteau, Morgan and Miller. Kehoe's hoping to replace Carl Vogel, the incumbent, who's term-limited out of office next year.
While Kehoe's never held a political office, he has served on the Missouri Transportation Commission. He was appointed to the board by former Governor Matt Blunt.
Kehoe spoke with reporters before his announcement and brushed off suggestions he lacks experience for the job.
"You don't want folks getting elected to do it just for a job," he said. "I think you want people that have business experience and have experience in the community...so that you can take that experience and couple it with your business and take 'em over to the legislature."
Although he didn't offer much in terms of specifics, Kehoe said if he's elected, the state's budget would be a top priority.
"I know budget issues are a big subject right now," said Kehoe. "Certainly I'm in an industry that's facing some huge budget challenges and everybody knows about that. The fact that we've been able to make it through, and some of the things I've learned from that, I hope that to be a priority to take to the Capitol."
Vogel has endorsed another Jefferson City businessman, Harry Otto, to replace him.