As primary battles continue, Blunt urges post-election unity

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, along with his wife Abigail, spoke with Republican U.S. Senate hopeful John Brunner and his wife Jan in Springfield, Mo., on Aug. 4, 2012. (PoliticMo Photo)

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Just three days before the Aug. 7 primary, southwest Republicans gathered in support of their primary candidates at the final major gathering of party faithful before the election.

Candidates for U.S. Senate, governor, secretary of state, and lieutenant governor worked the crowd at a barbecue hosted by the Greene County Republican Party Saturday night in Springfield. Candidates shook hands and visited with supporters, many of whom were sporting supportive t-shirts or stickers.

While the candidates were focused on securing support, the party’s leadership was focused quick unity after Tuesday’s election. U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, the highest elected Republican in the state, said the inter-party debates are not “nearly as important” as the general election battles.

“This part of the campaign is over on Tuesday,” he said, urging party faithful to actively support the ticket of Republican nominees.

Blunt, like his colleagues in the congressional delegation and other statewide office holders, has not endorsed candidates in any of the statewide primaries.

All three Republicans running for U.S. Senate — including Todd Akin, John Brunner, and Sarah Steelman — were given ten seconds to say their name for the crowd. Akin said, “I’m too conservative,” channeling an ad being run statewide by their Democratic rival Claire McCaskill’s campaign. Brunner told voters he wants to be a “citizen senator,” while Steelman reiterated her message that “the status quo has got to go.”

On the day after a large rally with former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Steelman spent much of her day campaigning in southwest Missouri. Steelman stopped and greeted voters at the Webb City Farmer’s Market and a Joplin doughnut shop, where many patrons recognized her from her television ads and her Palin endorsement.

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