SEDALIA, Mo. – Two of the major candidates looking to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt crossed paths Thursday at the Missouri State Fair. 

Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine met for the first time and shook hands at the Governor’s Ham Breakfast, a longstanding tradition that is considered a must-attend for Missouri candidates.

“Farmers are hurting right now, inflation, fuel costs, that’s what you hear talking to real people and those are some of the things we need to address in Washington,” Schmitt said. 

Minutes later, Bush Valentine met with reporters after the breakfast, saying it was time for Missouri to not send a career politician to Washington. 

“I will not be brought by big businesses or anybody else,” Busch Valentine said. “I am doing this to serve not for ego, not for power, and not for money.”

Schmitt and Democrat candidate Trudy Busch Valentine both scored primary election victories earlier this month for their respective parties.

With agriculture as the center of attention, Schmitt and Busch Valentine both gave their pitches on why they’d be the best chance for the Missouri farmer. 

“I’m not for the big monopolies that are taking over all these farms and I’m not for selling our farmland to foreign countries and that’s what my opponent has been about,” Busch Valentine said. 

“Look at the record she came out in support of this inflation, boosting bill and part of that is the green new deal which will be a disaster for agriculture,” Schmitt said about the recent bill Biden signed into law Tuesday, the Inflation Reduction Act. 

Schmitt said at breakfast was the first time he meant his Democratic candidate. 

“I don’t think people know a lot about Trudy Busch Valentine yet and that’s what the next three months are for,” Schmitt said. “She wished me congratulations and I said the same on winning her primary.”

Attending the breakfast for the final time as a U.S. Senator, Roy Blunt also took the opportunity to announce he’s endorsing Schmitt. While not surprising, it’s noteworthy since conservative GOP candidate John Wood is running as an independent in November.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with him over the last 10 years,” Blunt said. “I think he will be a fine member of the Senate and I look forward to doing all I can to help him get there over the next few months.”

Wood, who has received substantial financial backing from former GOP Sen. John Danforth’s super PAC, was not at the breakfast. 

“I think that he could take some of the votes away from us, but I have a feeling he will take more Republican votes away,” Busch Valentine said. 

Valentine, a 65-year-old heiress to the Anheuser-Busch fortune and retired nurse, on Thursday said she supports the legislation, particularly the Medicare cost cap.

One night after Schmitt’s primary election victory, U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley told sister station KTVI, “I absolutely endorse him.” Prior to the Aug. 2 primary election, former U.S. President Donald Trump announced an endorsement of “ERIC” in the Missouri U.S. Senate race on his social media account, but didn’t specify whether that endorsement was for Schmitt, Eric Greitens, or another candidate.

No other U.S. senators have announced endorsements yet for Busch Valentine or independent candidate  Wood since the Missouri primary election.

The winner among those three in the November 8 general election will join Josh Hawley as Missouri’s second United States Senator.