Brunner Enters Missouri Senate Race

Posted October 3, 2011 at 11:59am

Businessman John Brunner (R) announced his long-awaited bid for Senate in Missouri today.

Framing himself as an outsider to the broken ways of Washington, D.C., and contrasting his business background with the political pedigree of his two GOP primary opponents — former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman and six-term Rep. Todd Akin — and Sen.Claire McCaskill (D).

“I came to realize, like many of you, that career politicians, with political experience alone, are unable to restore the American dream,” he said in his announcement speech. “They have no answers and have lost their way because they have no-real world experience to guide them. We simply cannot afford to continue to re-elect these same people and hope for change.”

Brunner, the chairman of pharmaceutical and personal-care product manufacturer Vi-Jon, is a potential self-funder. In April, when the idea of a Brunner candidacy was first floated, he told the Associated Press: “If I believe in myself, I’d make a contribution and hope that others feel the same way.”

The long incubation period of his potential campaign led the Missouri Democratic Party to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Brunner, alleging he skirted campaign finance law.

Brunner emphasized in his speech that his effort was not a flight of fancy, but a serious campaign.

“With this announcement today, I am once again in the arena. In fact, I am all in,” he said. “I promise you that I will lead a full-scale campaign. I will take our cause to every corner of the great state of Missouri.”

But at least one of his opponents had a message for him that they were all in, too. Steelman welcomed Brunner to the race on Twitter, writing, “the water is fine.” But she added a potent hastag:”#bringit.”

Roll Calls rates the Missouri Senate race a Tossup.