Update: Todd Akin wins the nomination. This is a bit of an upset as Akin did not have a lot of major support and he had not led in a poll in well over a year. The most recent poll had Akin losing to Brunner 35-30%, but with a majority of the vote in the tally is actually reversed and Akin leads Brunner 36-30%. He will now take on Claire McCaskill, who is skipping the Democratic Convention to avoid associating herself to closely with the liberal Obama agenda to which she is closely tied.
Original: Tonight we find out which Republican candidate voters in Missouri will nominate to take on US Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat who we recently ranked as second most likely to lose her seat in November.
Claire "ObamaClaire" McCaskill is a US Senator in a state where 71% of voters approved a referendum refudiating the individual mandate provision that was part of Obamacare. While she is trying to distance herself from the Obama agenda, even skipping the 2012 DNC convention, there is no escaping that one, pesky little vote. Three Republicans are battling to take her on, and all have posted good numbers in a head-to-head match-up.
The good news for Republicans is that the three top contenders are all solid choices for the seat, and all have a good chance at defeating McCaskill and edging one seat closer to taking control of the US Senate and repealing Obamacare. The primary is different than many others this year as it does not offer a classic conservative vs. tea party showdown, and any three of the candidates would be a great addition to the conservative cause.
John Brunner is a businessman running on his experience in the private sector and has the backing of tea party group FreedomWorks, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and a number of pro-business organizations.
Sarah Steelman received the "golden endorsement" of Sarah Palin, and she has campaigned on her behalf this week. In Texas, recent primary victor Ted Cruz credited Palin for giving him the momentum in Texas and she was the only person to push Deb Fischer in Nebraska for a near-perfect endorsement record this year. Steelman also has the support of tea party senator Mike Lee of Utah, the Tea Party Express, and a boatload of state representatives. Steelman is a former state representative and state treasurer.
Todd Akin is a congressman and rounds out the top trio of candidates in the race. His endorsements come from his co-workers in the US Congress and include conservative favorites Michelle Bachmann and Steve King. Mike Huckabee and Phyliss Schafley also back Akin.
Polls had favored Steelman for months, but Brunner, who has run a multi-million dollar self-funded campaign, has closed the gap and recently overtaken Steelman in the polls. A Public Policy Polling (8/4-8/5) survey had Brunner in the lead with 35%, Akin in second at 30%, and Steelman at a shockingly low (and third place) 25%. Two weeks earlier, a Mason-Dixon poll also showed Brunner in the lead at 33%, with Steelman sitting at 27%, and Akin back in third at 17%.