Mo. Senate candidates raise money, trade barbs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - In Missouri's race for U.S. Senate, Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill faces no opposition.

But the Republican primary is poised to be a major battle.

One candidate, John Brunner, just mailed out an attack ad comparing his Republican primary opponents to Democrats, with pictures alongside the president and McCaskill.

Todd Akin said he's rated the most conservative congressman in Missouri.

After 12 years as a state representative, and almost 12 years in Congress, he still says he's an outsider, going back to his vote against the Republican No Child Left Behind Act.

"That's really being willing to step out of the establishment. Wall street bailout, same thing. I voted against that. So I've been just a consistent conservative," said Akin.

Brunner campaigns on his business experience.

For nearly 20 years he was CEO of his family's business, Vi-Jon, which makes Germ-X cleaner.

In his first run for office, he's spending millions of his own money to try to bring a business approach to the Senate.

"In business terms, we've lost market share. We've lost a huge amount," Brunner said of the economy. "If we can get seven points in market share, we can get our economy going again, we can begin to pay back the debt."

Brunner no longer runs Vi-Jon, but in the past year the company has laid off employees and had its credit rating downgraded.

Sarah Steelman said she has business experience too, while criticizing Brunner's tenure at Vi-Jon.

"I've started two small businesses from scratch, you know, from nothing before I ran for the state senate. He inherited a business, he used junk bonds, ran up his debt, and then he sold his business."

Steelman is also a former state treasurer. The Rolla, Mo., native is trying to separate herself with a farm tour, and pointed out that she's the only candidate not from St. Louis.

But Brunner said the others have been politicians too long.

"I know exactly how Washington, D.C. and Jefferson City work, they borrow money that they don't have, they spend money they don't have, they continue to put us into debt," he said.

All three want to repeal the Affordable Care Act - which they refer to as "Obamacare."

Second quarter fundraising reports have just been turned in.

Akin reports raising approximately $280,000 in the second quarter, with $1.4 million cash on hand.

Steelman reports raising $241,795, with $561,660 cash on hand.

Brunner stands out because he has donated almost $4.8 million of his personal fortune to his campaign, and he has already spent most of that money on an advertising blitz.

He has self-funded nearly 90 percent of his campaign war chest.

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