Republican U.S. Senate hopeful John Brunner positioned himself as the strongest contender in the field while speaking to a small crowd at in St. Charles Tuesday afternoon.
"We've got to engage in this battle. We're under tremendous attack," he said. "The nation depends on winning this Senate race. The strongest candidate has to survive this race. The candidate who has strong values and principles."
Brunner is one of eight Republicans are hoping to win the nomination, although just three contendors have launched a legitimate statewide bid.
Brunner, former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman and Congressman Todd Akin are spending the next few weeks trying to draw distinctions between one another. Several have noted few policy differences between the three.
On Tuesday, Brunner emphasized his Christian values, his experience as a businessman and desire to be a citizen politician rather than a career politician. He's said he'd like to see congressmen and women take paycuts and cut out pensions.
"It's a matter of leadership, it's a matter of setting the right example," he said. "It's just a different kind of people we have to get up there."
St. Charles County resident Robina Williams was a longtime Akin supporter who attended the event because she liked what she read on Brunner's fliers. She asked Brunner what he would do better than Akin if he were senator.
Brunner said he'd serve two terms in contrast to Akin who has been a congressman for 12 years.
"I've seen this happen in far too many people who spend far too much time in Jefferson City or Washington D.C. or a combination of both, they lose their edge," he said. "You go in there, you get a job done and you go on home. Why would you want to be up there that whole time?"
When asked about what he would do to change the welfare system, Brunner said he supported seeing programs being run by local communities instead of the federal government.
"What we have is symptomatic of a mindset that central government by political elite with a bunch of bureaucrats know what's best for all of us, as opposed to my fundamental belief that folks in Missouri at the local level know what's best for us and that we can do a lot better job managing a lot of these programs than we can with central controlled government."
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