- Tearin’ up my tweet: ‘N Sync’s Lance Bass promotes wrong Obamacare website
- Oil rig worker says he saw missing plane go down: report
- Pentagon: U.S. F-16 fighter jets to train with Poland near Ukraine
- Jerry Sandusky’s wife: Victims manipulated over money
- Ben Carson: America’s now ‘very much like Nazi Germany’
- Heroin found on N.J. toddler at day care
- Pistorius trial: Police conduct faces scrutiny
- Gaza militants fire large rocket barrage at Israel
- CBO chief: Projected job loss numbers from minimum wage hike are fluid
- Rep. Rangel: ‘No question’ Harlem explosion is result of gas leak, not terrorism
McCaskill waits for GOP foe in Missouri
Three Republicans run to the right in bids to win primary
Three Republicans hungrily eyeing Claire McCaskill's Missouri Senate seat have spent the past few months trying to tarnish each other’s conservative credentials while polishing their own — a tactic that’s designed to appeal to Tuesday’s primary voters but one that could hurt the party’s chances against the vulnerable freshman Democrat in November.
While latest polls show that Rep. W. Todd Akin, St. Louis businessman John Brunner and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman could each beat the incumbent in the general election, Mrs. McCaskill insists her challengers have already put themselves too far to the right.
“The question is, will they lose the moderate Republicans in this very visible effort that they are undergoing to be the tea party guy,” Mrs. McCaskill told The Washington Times. “I’m hoping that’s the case and, if it is the case, I’ll have the come-from-behind victory that I’ve had two or three times before.”
While the race has remained close for months, the most recent polls have given Mr. Brunner the edge. In a Rasmussen Reports state poll last month, he enjoyed a 6-point lead over Mrs. Steelman and a 16-point lead over Mr. Akin as the three headed into their final days of campaigning. In a hypothetical November faceoff, Mrs. McCaskill trailed Mr. Brunner by 11 points, Mrs. Steelman by 8 points and Mr. Akin by 5 points.
Mrs. McCaskill was elected to the Senate with just 50 percent of the vote in 2006, and her race is considered one of the key contests to decide control of the Senate in 2013. Mitt Romney leads President Obama in statewide polls and considered likely to carry the state in November, making the Democrat’s task that much harder.
A weekend survey by Public Policy Polling also put Mr. Brunner ahead in the primary, with 35 percent support to 30 percent for Mr. Akin and 25 percent for Mrs. Steelman, although the poll also found Mr. Akin’s voters more motivated and Mr. Brunner’s lead shrinking in the closing days.
Mrs. McCaskill said she doesn’t care which of the three she faces in November. But she released a trio of television ads last month that some took as an attempt to boost prospects for Mr. Akin, who could present an easier challenge for her.
In her ad targeting Mr. Akin, she focused on his conservative credentials, calling him “the most conservative congressman in Missouri,” while she spent her two other 30-second ads slamming Mr. Brunner over his business career and leveling charges of political corruption at Mrs. Steelman.
“I got tired of being pounded and I felt like I had to do something against all three of them, so we tried to put on the air for all three of them the things that disqualify them the most with independent voters,” she said. “So it doesn’t matter to me who wins.”
As the three have competed for the title of most conservative, very few policy differences have surfaced among them over the course of 18 debates, with all three expressing their distaste for President Obama’s health care law, calling for a crackdown on deficit spending and talking about how they want to eliminate some of the biggest federal agencies.
And each has won endorsements from top conservatives, making it even more difficult for Missouri Republicans to make their choice.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has appeared in ads backing Mr. Akin, who also got an endorsement from famed conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly. Mr. Brunner has picked up endorsements from Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson and Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, who have both campaigned with him. And former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has endorsed Mrs. Steelman, joined her in southwest Missouri to campaign Friday night.
But while painting their rivals as liberals has been a challenge — with Mr. Akin known as one of the most conservative members of the House and Mr. Brunner having never held office before — the Republican trio still managed to batter each other on topics of spending and debt.
While Mrs. Steelman criticized Mr. Brunner for relying heavily on debt and federal tax credits in his business ventures, Mr. Brunner pummeled her for supporting the selling of state bonds to pay for infrastructure projects and forced Mr. Akin to defend his past votes for supporting earmarks and voting to raise the federal debt ceiling — prompting a bit of skepticism among some in his district.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- A familiar fading feeling for McMahon in Connecticut
- Romney’s bid to undo health law faces hurdles
- Hill GOP presses Medicare probe
- Romney, Obama advisors butt heads over binders, Big Bird and “Romnesia”
- Outsiders abide by rules in Brown-Warren race
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
- Oil rig worker says he saw missing plane go down: report
- Inside the Beltway: A new interest in Rahm Emanuel for 2016?
- Female TSA officers say pat-down duty leads to workplace discrimination
- NRA shirt gets N.Y. high school student suspended
- HURT: John Kerry The ridiculous face of a ridiculous U.S. diplomacy
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Deportations come mostly from border, DHS chief says
- Ben Carson: America's now 'very much like Nazi Germany'
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Last laugh: Marine vet fires off jokes from the grave with own obituary
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again