Saturday, February 09, 2008

Low Level Engagement

Hulshof Touts Outsider Status; Steelman Says "Washington's A Mess"
The two remaining Republicans running for Missouri Governor offered subtle hints of the possible debate to come between the two of them if there is a battle for the G.O.P. nomination.

In dueling interviews with the KY3 News Saturday, U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof and State Treasurer Sarah Steelman offered the first signs of what an actual campaign would look like.

Hulshof distinguished himself as an outsider who could best solve problems in Jefferson City because of his lack of ties to the state capitol. Steelman suggested that Hulshof's Washington experience could be a drawback.

"I think certainly coming from the outside in, reforms are easier when you haven't been involved in the political culture in Jefferson City for a long time," Hulshof said.

"That's an interesting distinction for him to make, since he's coming from Washington and everyone knows Washington is a mess," Steelman said, specifically citing out-of-control spending and the deficit.

Steelman also reinforced that she would stay in the race through the August primary. She said Peter Kinder's announcement to leave the race surprised her, but said it did not significantly change her strategy going forward.

Hulshof said he had spoken with Kinder late Friday afternoon, but that he did not yet officially receive an endorsement -- or at least one that could be released publicly.

"I think we're letting the decision sink in, and perhaps we'll have a chance to chat down the road," Hulshof said of Kinder.

Hulshof said he had an enormous amount of respect for Kinder. "It must've been very difficult," Hulshof said. "But his message was well-received."

Hulshof also said a primary campaign "did not have to be a bad thing," but when asked if he believed he'd still have an opponent come August, the Congressman replied, "that's not my call to make."

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