John Brunner (AP Photo via KC Star)
— Republican U.S. Senate hopeful John Bunner’s campaign reacted strongly Wednesday to news that primary rival Sarah Steelman had received a large number of endorsements from members of the Missouri House of Representatives.
Hours after Steelman announced endorsements from 47 of the 106 Republicans in the state House, Brunner’s campaign criticized Steelman for even courting legislative endorsements in the first place.
“It’s funny how just a few years can change one’s perspective, and Sarah Steelman is a prime example,” said Todd Abrajano, spokesman for Brunner. “It was Sarah Steelman who almost four years ago in the gubernatorial primary told the St. Joseph News-Press that, ‘I’ve never been interested in getting other elected officials’ endorsements. I think politicians put other politicians ahead of other people.’”
While Brunner himself has been mostly hands-off when it came to attacking his opponents, his campaign has been relentless in recent weeks. Whether it be criticizing her for endorsements or offering post-debate jabs, the campaign has taken on the attack role and focused their attention squarely on Steelman, their greatest threat for the nomination.
Brunner’s campaign said Steelman’s slew of endorsements from nearly four dozen elected officials show she is a part of “establishment” she rails against the stump.
“Either she thinks very little of the politicians who she previously mocked as ‘establishment,’ or she simply wasn’t honest in the first place,” Abrajano said.
Brunner, who, citing his business background, hopes to portray himself as the real “anti-establishment” candidate, has also accepted endorsements from lawmakers. Last week, he announced support from U.S. Senators Tom Coburn and Ron Johnson, a Tea Party favorite. Earlier this year, Brunner announced support from state Rep. Paul Curtman.