Brunner enters GOP field, hopes to be a ‘citizen Senator’

John Brunner

— ‘Mr. Germ-X’ officially launched his campaign for the title ‘citizen Senator’ Monday, at his business Vi-Jon’s distribution center in St. Louis.

John Brunner, a St. Louis Republican who has never campaigned for or held elected office, highlighted his biggest difference with other members of the GOP field to challenge U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill next year.

“I came to realize, like many of you, that career politicians, with political experience alone, are unable to restore the American dream. They have no answers and have lost their way, because they have no real world experience to guide them,” said Brunner, whose GOP opponents have both served in elected office in the past.

Brunner, a major contributor to Republican campaigns in the past (even to GOP opponent Rep. Todd Akin), said Washington needs “new leadership” from someone in the business community instead of experience in government.

“I will match my experience as a manufacturer and job creator against a career politician’s resume of borrowing and spending anytime, anywhere,” he said.

Brunner took some of his first public policy positions in his announcement speech Monday. He says he is against earmarks, for a balanced budget amendment, for term limits, and against the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. McCaskill, a key target of national Republicans next year, didn’t comment on specific candidates when asked about her thoughts on the GOP field last week, but did call her challengers “viable.”

“There are three viable candidates for the Republican nomination, and I’m thinking they’re going to have a rick-roaring, rootin-tootin primary,” McCaskill told PoliticMo on Friday. “I will be an observer of that process while I try to keep my head down and do my job.”

While McCaskill didn’t name names, Brunner did, accusing President Obama of a failure of leadership, and McCaskill of a failure to follow the will of Missourians.

“It is time for them to get out of the way, so that American can start working again,” he said.

Sarah Steelman, former State Treasurer, welcomed Brunner to the race with a tweet Monday, with the hashtag, “#bringit.”

Brunner is expected to kick off a statewide tour announcing his candidacy this week.

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