Smith was elected to the seat, vacated by former Rep. Jo Bonner (R), in a special election earlier this year. He was selected over Kinder and eight other potential candidates by the 8th District Republican committee as the party's nominee for the seat, and went on to easily win in the general election.

Smith will face a traditional primary in next year's election, however — an atmosphere that could be more favorable for Kinder.

The three-term lieutenant governor said he's formed the committee to gauge support for a run, and said, according to the Southeast Missourian, he'd run on his conservative record.

"Our country is in deep trouble," Kinder said. "We're going to have to send our most proven candidates to fight in Washington."

Smith said, however, that he doesn't expect Kinder to go through with the bid, citing both their friendship and the chances that he'd jeopardize the GOP's hold on one of its few statewide offices in Missouri.

"Peter knows if he left the lieutenant governor's office, Gov. Nixon would appoint a Democrat to replace him," Smith said. "Peter has been in politics for over 20 years, he knows better than to give up his office to a Democrat. Also, I have always considered Peter a friend and I supported him in his primary last year and he has supported me in past elections. Friends just don't run against friends."