Sarah Steelman Steps Away From Ryan Plan

Posted June 16, 2011 at 1:44pm

Former Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who is running for the GOP nomination to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), has distanced herself from House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s controversial budget plan in a new Web video.

“The Ryan plan is a start, but it isn’t perfect. I opposed the $500 billion dollar cut in Medicare when it was in the Obamacare bill, and unfortunately, it’s still in the Ryan plan, and I don’t like the idea of vouchers that don’t keep up with the skyrocketing costs of health insurance,” she said in the video.

Steelman said she gets many questions about whether she supports the Wisconsin Republican’s plan, but she doesn’t say in the video definitively whether she would have voted for it. “I deeply respect Paul Ryan’s courage — and it is a good start — but as a conservative and as an economist, I will support a budget plan that goes further and faster in cutting spending,” she said.

The video does not appear to be a professional production, with a shaky camera and unusual lighting. Steelman raised more than $186,000 in the first quarter of this year but spent almost the same amount during that period. Federal Election Commission filings show the majority of her operating expenditures from January to March, more than $132,000, was paid to Pure Marketing for advertising and marketing services.

Steelman recently hired longtime GOP strategist Rick Wilson to help turn around her foundering campaign.

Steelman’s only declared opponent in the primary is Rep. Todd Akin (R), who voted for the Ryan plan. St. Louis businessman John Brunner is widely expected to join the GOP race soon. Roll Call Politics rates the Missouri Senate race a Tossup.

The Missouri Democratic Party has hammered Steelman over Ryan’s budget during the past two weeks. “If Sarah Steelman doesn’t want to tell Missouri’s seniors whether she would vote to end Medicare, clearly the Senate isn’t the right place for her,” party spokeswoman Caitlin Legacki said in a press release Thursday.