Akin, Brunner, Steelman vying for chance to face McCaskill in November

Eight candidates seek Republican nod in primary race to challenge McCaskill

Todd Akin

Todd Akin

By Kari Williams

A current congressman, a businessman looking to step into the political ring and a former state treasurer are among candidates seeking the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat in the Tuesday, Aug. 7, primary.

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, businessman John Brunner and former Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman are among eight candidates vying for their party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate seat. The primary winner will face Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill and Libertarian Jonathan Dine in the Nov. 6 general election.

Asked to identify the most important issue in the race, the candidates responded:

• “The need for principle-driven leadership, which will restore a free enterprise system and traditional value,” Akin said.

• “America needs to get back to work and growing our economy is the single, biggest issue facing Americans today. With my experience creating jobs and growing a successful business, I have the expertise Washington is desperately missing to put in place the necessary policies to ignite our economic might,” Brunner said.

• “The most important issue in this race is about balancing the budget and capping the size of government. We cannot continue to mortgage our children and grandchildren’s futures to countries such as China,” Steelman said. “A balanced budget will provide certainty for business and encourage growth and investment, thereby putting people back to work …”

Also seeking the Republican nomination next week are: Jerry Beck of La Monte, Mark Memoly of Lee’s Summit, Mark Patrick Lodes of St. Louis, Robert “Bob” Poole of Macon and Hector Maldonado of Sullivan. They did not respond to a Call questionnaire.

Akin, 65, of Wildwood, and his wife, Lulli, have six children.

He first was elected to the Missouri House in 1988 and served there until he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2000. Akin, who has served in the U.S. House since 2001, said he is seeking election to the U.S. Senate because he wants “to return America to freedom and a free enterprise system and traditional values.”

Brunner, 60, of St. Louis, and his wife, Jan, have three grown children. He is the former president and CEO of Vi-Jon Laboratories.

Brunner, who has not held elective office, said he is seeking election to the U.S. Senate “to represent Missouri and fight for fiscal responsibility, to ignite America’s economy and restore America’s prosperity.”

Steelman, 54, of Springfield, is an economist and former professor at Missouri State University. She and her husband, David, have three children ranging in age from 17 to 25.

Steelman served in the Missouri Senate from 1999 to 2005 and as state treasurer from 2005 to 2009. She said she is seeking election to the U.S. Senate “because the status quo has got to go. I am running because my children and their children may not have the same opportunity that we had growing up.”

The three gave the following responses to a Call questionnaire:

Akin said, “I am ardently pro-life. I am for reversing Roe v. Wade.”

Brunner said, “I am 100-percent pro-life and have earned the endorsement of the Missouri Right to Life PAC (Political Action Committee).”

Steelman said, “I am 100-percent pro-life. I have been endorsed by national pro-life advocacy groups — the National Right to Life and (the) Susan B. Anthony List.”

Akin said, “I am not against the death penalty.”

Brunner and Steelman said they support the death penalty.

Akin said, “I support the local control of education. I opposed No Child Left Behind and would abolish the federal Department of Education.”

Brunner said, “Students are best served when education is administered at the local community level. Localities and communities know what’s best for students — not the bureaucratic, top-down, federal government and its burdensome mandates. We need to roll back No Child Left Behind, downsize the Department of Education and grant more power to states and communities in setting the best policy for educating our students.”

Steelman said, “Education is one of the most important issues facing any family, and I support proposals that will return those decisions to as close to the family, state, locality, as possible.”

Akin said, “Lower taxes, reduce government spending, including eliminating the Department of Education, Department of Energy and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).”

Brunner said, “Another cornerstone of my four-point plan includes comprehensive corporate and individual tax reform. The tax code is far too burdensome, costly to comply with and discourages investment in America. We need a simpler, flatter and fairer tax that will broaden the base and boost revenues. Tax reform will ease the burden on working families, encourage investment in America and enable strong economic growth.”

Steelman said, “Cut taxes. We need to get to a fairer, flatter tax.”

Akin said, “No. It has not. I voted against it as a waste of taxpayer dollars. After the wasting of billions of dollars, unemployment remains high and the economy remains stagnant.”

Brunner said, “The Obama stimulus package wasted taxpayer dollars, massively increased our deficit and did nothing to improve our economy and get America working again. The final verdict on the stimulus came from the president himself when he laughingly joked that, ‘Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as expected.’ But it is not a joke that with 41 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent and with the economy still struggling, the stimulus program failed to create jobs or boost our economy …”

Steelman said, “No. Stimulus spending was a classic case of government picking the winners and the losers. And we now know that the funds allocated have not been spent efficiently. Solyndra is a prime example.”