Missouri: Steelman in No Hurry to Jump in Senate Race

Posted April 22, 2009 at 6:39pm

All signs are pointing to former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman joining the 2010 Senate race and challenging Rep. Roy Blunt for the GOP nomination, but she said this week that while she’s “moving in that direction— she’s not yet prepared to make a formal announcement.

“I am still looking at it,— Steelman said. “I know everybody is in a big hurry but I have my own time frame. I’m very serious about it.—

Steelman, who revamped her 2008 gubernatorial campaign Web site and relaunched sarahsteelman.com earlier this week, took a shot at Blunt for his less-than-spectacular first-quarter fundraising totals.

“He’s boasted about himself being a great fundraiser so I just assumed he would be as competitive with some of the other races around the country that are similar to this one,— Steelman said.

According to Federal Election Commission reports, Blunt raised about $560,000 in the first quarter, a total that was nearly doubled during the same period by Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D).

“What I think it is is people saying, Wait a minute, we’re not sure that he’s the right guy for the job,’— she said.

A Blunt campaign aide noted that Blunt made his decision to run midway through the first quarter, while Carnahan has been gearing up to run for some time.

“We raised $416,640 in the last two weeks of the quarter, which is well over two-thirds our total raised and shows a great amount of support and momentum for Roy’s campaign,— Blunt campaign spokesman Rich Chrismer said. “Roy Blunt is a proven fundraiser and we will have the resources we need to win.—

Steelman — who lost the GOP gubernatorial primary in 2008 to then-Rep. Kenny Hulshof — is expected to embrace the role of Beltway outsider in the Senate campaign.

With all the attention surrounding a likely candidacy, Steelman’s recent quarterly filing with the Missouri Ethics Commission caused a bit of a stir when it showed her state committee spent nearly $43,000 in March for “polling— and “consulting— work.

But Steelman explained that she was paying off debts from her 2008 gubernatorial campaign.

“She owed a debt from the primary in the governor race,— said Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies, which received about $23,000 from the Friends of Steelman Committee, according to the disclosure report. “People have debt and they pay it off. We’re not all in the Obama Cabinet. Some people do pay what they owe.—