KIRKWOOD, Mo. (KMOX) - A leading faction of the National Tea Party has decided which GOP candidate they want to back in the Republican race for U.S. Senate.
The Tea Party Express made a stop at Sisters Floral Design in Kirkwood Thursday morning to announce they’re throwing their support behind former state treasurer Sarah Steelman.
“We have made this decision because we believe she’s a conservative that has that fighter, maverick streak in her that will go up against Claire McCaskill,” announced Tea Party Express Chair Amy Kremer, before presenting Steelman with a check for $2,500.
Claire McCaskill is the Missouri Democrat currently holding the Senate seat that will be on November’s ballot.
Kremer said Steelman is the candidate that best fits in with their overall goal of electing a conservative majority to the U.S. Senate this year.
Steelman’s main competitors for the GOP nomination are Congressman Todd Akin and St. Louis businessman John Brunner.
“The Tea Party Express and what you all have done in the last two years has changed the course of history in this country,” Steelman said in accepting the endorsement. “You’ve engaged voters, you’ve made them get out and hold people accountable.”
Steelman said she would win the Republican primary on the issues, not the size of her war chest.
“We may not have as much money as my other opponents because one of them has access to a fortune that he inherited,” she said. “But we’re doing really well on fund-raising this quarter and I have over six thousand contributors.”
The Tea Party Express is crossing the state to announce its support of Steelman in the Republican Senate primary, and has already endorsed GOP candidates in Nebraska, Indiana, Texas and Ohio.
A spokesperson for St. Louis businessman John Brunner took issue with statements made by Steelman about Brunner:
“Sarah Steelman knows full well that John Brunner did not inherit Vi-Jon Laboratories, Inc., or a ‘fortune’ as she has falsely accused, because our campaign has corrected her distortions before. By continuing to repeat Democrat lies and talking points, Steelman shows that she is just another career politician who is willing to distort the truth for her own political gain.”