November Fight Set in Hulshof Seat

Posted August 5, 2008 at 11:22pm

Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.), who deferred to Minority Whip Roy Blunt’s (R-Mo.) now-retiring son in the gubernatorial primary four years ago, appeared to walk away with a narrow victory on Tuesday night, beating Missouri treasurer Sarah Steelman 49 percent to 45 percent with more than 80 percent of the state’s precincts reporting. Gov. Matt Blunt (R-Mo.), 37, announced his retirement earlier this year under a cloud of ethics-related allegations by Democrats and daunting poll numbers. Hulshof’s play for the governor’s mansion also yielded Tuesday’s only competitive Congressional primaries – and a November matchup that may draw national attention in the coming weeks. State Rep. Judy Baker (D), an EMILY’s List-backed candidate, was out in front of former state Speaker Steve Gaw (D), 42 percent to 33 percent, with more than 90 percent of precincts reporting. Former state tourism director Blaine Luetkemeyer (R) also appeared to be well out in front of Club for Growth pick Bob Onder (R), 39 percent to 30 percent, declaring himself the nominee with about 10 percent of precincts still uncounted. “The people of the 9th District have made it clear that the liberal Congress is broken and I vow to fight to fix it by battling for lower taxes, an affordable energy plan, secure borders and affordable and accessible health care,” Luetkemeyer said in a statement released late Tuesday night. “I am ready to continue my discussion with the people of the 9th District about real ideas and real solutions for our families.” In the gubernatorial primary, both Hulshof and Steelman spent heavily, with the six-term lawmaker bringing in roughly $2.4 million and doling out all but $425,000 as of July 28. Steelman raised about $2 million as of Aug. 1 and had about $500,000 in cash – and $770,000 in debt – according to campaign finance disclosure statements filed one week ago. Hulshof will face state Attorney General Jay Nixon in November. The Show-Me State’s longtime top prosecutor, who faced only nominal primary opposition, has a strong cash position – about $2.9 million – going into the fall election homestretch. But a recent law signed by the younger Blunt lifting Missouri’s political contribution limits could quickly shore up Nixon’s massive financial advantage for Republicans.