Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling released a survey on Wednesday showing U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) tied with all three of her potential GOP opponents.
Noting that things "could not be any closer in Claire McCaskill’s bid for re-election," a news release from the company noted that the freshman Missouri Senator ties each of her three prospective Republican opponents―Frontenac businessman John Brunner, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman―at 43 percent.
That prompted Dean Debnam, the president of Public Policy Polling, to note that McCaskill is “definitely one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country.”
But the poll showed that the three candidates―Brunner, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman―haven’t built a lot of name recognition. About 64 percent of recipients said they were “not sure” about their opinion of Brunner, while 54 percent didn’t register any sort of reaction to Akin.
And McCaskill has plenty of money to spend against whoever comes out of the GOP primary. She has nearly $4.8 million of cash on hand.
Unlike Illinois, a state that’s holding a primary in March, the Show Me State’s political parties aren’t picking candidates for the general election until early August.
That hasn’t stopped two Republican candidates in particular, Brunner and gubernatorial aspirant Dave Spence, from pushing out television ads. Brunner, a Frontenac resident who is pouring much of his own money into the contest, started running TV ads months ago.
“Many of you already know Dave’s record and are part of our team,” Spence aide Jared Craighead wrote in an email to supporters earlier this week. “We wanted you to get a first look at the new advertising campaign that will start today. Soon all of Missouri will get to know Dave the way you do. And they will begin to understand that Dave can and will get Missouri growing again.”
One piece of subtext that can be gleaned from Craighead’s quote is that Spence, a Kirkwood native who now lives in Frontenac, needs to build name recognition. Unlike Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, Spence has never run for office before.
In any case, Spence will have the financial wherewithal to keep himself on the tube. Spence has nearly $2.3 million on hand according to his latest campaign finance report, while Randles has $5,176.
An addendum: Ladue School Board member Stacy Washington tweeted on Wednesday that Spence will be speaking to the St. Louis Pachyderms at noon on Friday at Trattoria Branica in Clayton.
EHLMANN TO THE DRAWING BOARD
St. Charles County’s top official was tapped this week to help draw state Senate districts just a few weeks before filing begins on Feb. 28.
St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann was picked as one of five Republicans in a commission drawing state Senate lines. If the sounds familiar, it’s because the process was restarted after the Missouri Supreme Court declared an old map unconstitutional.
Ehlmann is one of two commissioners from the St. Louis metro area. Nixon selected St. Louis attorney Nicole Colbert-Botchway as one of the Democratic commissioners.
Ehlmann, of course, was a state senator before being elected as St. Charles County Exectuive. St. Charles Director of Administration Chuck Gross also was in the General Assembly's upper chamber
WALSH MAKES IT OFFICIAL
A former state representative will officially kick off her bid for the state Senate at the end of February.
Former Rep. Gina Walsh (D-Bellefontaine Neighbors) has effectively been running to succeed state Sen. Tim Green, D-Spanish Lake, for some time. Her campaign is throwing an official launch event at 9 a.m. Feb. 25 at the Old St. Ferdinand Schoolhouse in Florissant.
According to a listing on Walsh's Facebook page, guests will include state Treasurer Clint Zweifel, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and Florissant Mayor Thomas Schneider. Green is listed as Walsh's treasurer.