The Other McCain

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Missouri Senate 2012: Club for Growth Backing Sarah Steelman Over Jim Talent?

Posted on | December 2, 2010 | 6 Comments

Philip Klein at The American Spectator reports on a contested GOP primary that may be developing:

Yesterday, Sarah Steelman, a former state treasurer and state senator, has announced plans to challenge McCaskill, setting the stage for what could be a hard fought primary. The Club for Growth came out this morning to applaud Steelman’s entrance into the race, with Club president Chris Chocola calling it, “a welcome sign for pro-growth conservatives.” By contrast, Chocola fired a preemtive strike against [former GOP Sen. Jim] Talent, who is believed to be considering a rematch against McCaskill. “With a record of support for government expansion and outrageous earmark spending, it would be more difficult for Jim Talent to successfully contrast his record with Claire McCaskill’s,” he said. You can already see the conservative outsider vs. establisment RINO narrative forming.
Democratic polling firm PPP has conducted an early poll of the race, and confirms that McCaskill is vulnerable, essentially tied with prospective challengers. She has a one point edge over Steelman, while trailing Talent and Lt Gov. Peter Kinder, another possible candidate, by two points each.

Although Jim Talent is certainly an “establishment” Republican, I don’t think anyone would accuse him of being a “RINO” of the Crist/Castle variety. There may be some specific reason the Club for Growth prefers Steelman over Talent — various measures Talent voted for during his congressional tenure that the Club opposes — but I see no need to throw around a slur like “RINO” against a guy whose reputation is as a loyal conservative Republican.

Kudos to Phil for the reporting — as I said last week, conservatives need to focus on the key Senate races for 2012. Let’s hope we have lots more contested Republican primaries like this one in Missouri, and hopefully some Tea Party candidates — businessmen, homeschooling moms, military veterans, county sheriffs, etc. — will throw their hats in the ring.


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