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Blunt-Carnahan Race Begins in Earnest

Updated: 11:42 p.m.

Rep. Roy Blunt (R) and Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) cruised to easy Senate primary victories Tuesday in Missouri, contests that were mere formalities on the road to a November showdown between the state’s two modern political dynasties.

Blunt crushed state Sen. Chuck Purgason, who ran an underfunded campaign as the ultra-conservative alternative to the GOP Congressman. With a little more than half of the vote counted, Blunt had 72 percent of the vote to 12 percent for Purgason.

Carnahan also had nominal primary opposition and was hovering at 83 percent of the vote with 57 percent of precincts counted.

The two candidates are representatives of the state’s two best-known political families. Carnahan is the daughter of a former governor and former Senator, as well as the sister of Rep. Russ Carnahan (D). Blunt’s son is a former governor.

While Tuesday’s primaries officially kicked off the fall campaign, Robin Carnahan, Blunt and their surrogates have been testing and employing their general election attacks for the better part of a year. Democrats are working to paint Blunt as the ultimate Washington insider by exploiting his ties to President George W. Bush as a former member of GOP leadership and his marriage to a lobbyist.

For Republicans, the goal is to tie Carnahan to President Barack Obama, who is not popular these days in the Show Me State, while highlighting the fact that she is hardly a political outsider because she comes from such an established pedigree.

“Despite her attempts to portray herself as an ‘outsider’ in this election, Missourians know that Carnahan spent years in Washington, D.C., working as a bank executive and that she eagerly supports the damaging economic policies that will burden our nation’s children and grandchildren with untold debt for generations to come,” National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) said in a statement. “If Missourians elect Robin Carnahan to the U.S. Senate, they can expect more spending, higher taxes, and bigger government in Washington from the Obama Democrats. But if they elect Roy Blunt, voters can send a message that they want to enact commonsense fiscal responsibility and the crucial checks-and-balances that Missouri’s families, farmers, seniors, and job creators deserve.”

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (N.J.) also released a statement expressing confidence his party would win the seat currently held by retiring Sen. Kit Bond (R).

“Republicans tonight nominated a candidate who represents the very worst of Washington. Congressman Roy Blunt is the consummate Washington insider who votes with the corporate special interests every chance he gets,” Menendez said. “The general election begins tomorrow and the contrast for voters could not be any clearer: Congressman Blunt would do even more to protect Wall Street, Big Oil, and their lobbyists and Robin Carnahan will fight every day for Missouri’s middle class.”

Elsewhere in the Show Me State, auctioneer Billy Long won the 7th district GOP primary, and he is all but assured of succeeding Blunt in the House next year.

Long, who finished with 37 percent of the vote, defeated state Sens. Jack Goodman and Gary Nodler and two other candidates. Goodman received 29 percent while Nodler got 14 percent.

In the 4th district GOP race, former state Rep. Vicky Hartzler defeated state Sen. Bill Stouffer and will face longtime Rep. Ike Skelton (D) in November. Republicans are targeting the Armed Services chairman in a district that is conservative and favors the GOP.

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