ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) – In the final hours before the polls open on primary day in Missouri, most of the candidates would not rest; criss-crossing the state.
Perhaps the hottest contest remained the race for the Republican nomination to the United States Senate; the winner to face incumbent Democrat, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill.
FOX2’s caught up with all 3 Republicans Monday night.
John Brunner, who polls showed to be a ‘cautious’ front-runner, was working a phone bank with volunteers in Creve Coeur.
Volunteers for 6 term Congressman Todd Akin, were whooping it up, shaking campaign signs at passing drivers outside Akin`s headquarters in Chesterfield, as Akin geared up for a lap around the state on election day and a telephone town hall meeting on election eve.
‘It’s a great big party call. If you push the right button on your phone, you can get on the list and you can ask questions,’ Akin said.
Former State Senator, Treasurer, and one-time candidate for Missouri Governor, Sarah Steelman, was working her way from Rolla to Springfield.
She`ll work her way back Election Day.
She said her recent endorsement from former Republican Vice-Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, was creating a buzz.
‘I`m the one who`s not afraid to take on a fight. I`ve got the record here in Missouri to prove it. That`s why Sarah Palin endorsed me because she knows I`ve taken on, sometimes my own party… I`ve had a lot of people comment to me about the commercial and that they appreciate her opinion. So, I think it`s definitely helped me,’ Steelman told Fox 2 from Springfield.
‘I call them more of celebrity endorsements,’ Brunner said. ‘They come in to try and lift up a campaign. At the end of the day, Missourians are going to the polling place. They`re looking at the person who`s going to be up there in Washington, D.C. fighting the battles and fighting the jobs. And Sarah Palin is not going to the U.S. Senate.’
‘I think just one line of political stuff and slinging mud is not doing justice to the seriousness of where we are. That`s why we`ve tried to keep it positive and principled,’ Akin said, claiming he was the only candidate to have run a 100% positive campaign.
All 3 pointed to their plans to reign in government spending and regulations to spur job growth.
‘I`m going to Washington to get spending under control, get government off of our backs and get the economy moving again,’ Steelman said. ‘A lot of the powers that be, I scare them, because I`m going to actually do what I say I`m going to do.’
Brunner`s pointed to his success running a private label health and beauty products company, behind products like Germ-X hand sanitizer.
‘The real issue here in this campaign, is we have an economy that`s in trouble. We`re losing jobs. I`ve spent three decades in the manufacturing sector…we can turn things around with a solid American energy program, rollback red tape regulations, be competitive on our corporate tax rates. This whole economy will turn around,’ Brunner said.
Akin pointed to his experience as a conservative, who opposed President Bush on the ‘No Child Left Behind’ education reform law.
‘If you think about it a little bit, ever since Ronald Reagan, in the republican party, everybody says you’re a conservative. It doesn’t cost you anything to talk or even promise. It’s a different thing to be in congress and to have a proven record,’ Akin said.
Akin and his supporters will hold their election night party in St. Charles. Brunner will be with supporters in Clayton. Steelman and her supporters will gather in her hometown of Rolla.
Late polls showed Brunner ahead of Akin by up to 5 points, and Steelman by up to 10, but that was with up to 10% of voters still undecided.
The candidates felt it was still anyone’s race. They acted like it, Monday night.