Echoing themes of limited government, living within means, and calling himself "a consistent conservative," U.S. Representative Todd Akin (R-Town and Country) entered what is now a Republican party primary field to unseat Democrat Claire McCaskill in 2012.
“Missouri has a choice of two futures. And I’m determined to make sure that Missouri voters have an opportunity to exercise that choice. For that reason, I will be running for the U.S. Senate in the 2012 election,” Rep. Akin, who has served the 2nd Congressional district for 11 years, told supporters at the Drury Inn and Suites in Creve Coeur late Tuesday morning.
Akin painted himself as someone with a record the "literal exact opposite of Claire McCaskill," using examples of McCaskill's support for President Obama's health care policy and stimulus spending to illustrate the differences for voters in a potential general election campaign. He also highlighted his vote against President George W. Bush's "No Child Left Behind" education legislation as a sign of independence from his own party.
This will be Akin's first statewide campaign, one that he estimates could cost between $15-20 million, based on previous election cycles. Sarah Steelman ran statewide for Treasurer and more recently in a failed primary bid for Governor in 2008. Ladue businessman John Brunner, Chief Executive Officer of Vi-Jon, a St. Louis health care product company, is also investigating the GOP race, the Associated Press has reported. Akin praised Brunner as "a fantastic guy," Tuesday and appreciated his past support.
The Steelman campaign posted a statement on Facebook after Akin's announcement, saying in part, "We cannot continue to spend money we don't have. I welcome Congressman Akin to the race and look forward to a vigorous debate so we can let the voters decide who is best to stand up for working Missouri taxpayers vs the Washington special interests."
Efforts to reach a McCaskill spokesperson for comment have been unsuccessful Tuesday afternoon.
Rep. Akin did not endorse a successor in what will be a crowded field in the newly-formed 2nd Congressional district. Two Republican candidates, Ed Martin and Ann Wagner, were in attendance at the Drury Inn event.