STEELMAN VS. HULSHOF
FIVE STRENGTHS, FIVE WEAKNESSES
(According to the campaigns, insiders and politicos alike)
KENNY HULSHOF STRENGTHS
1. His establishment credibility and the excitement he generates among G.O.P. insiders.
2. His ability to give an engaging, commanding speech.
3. Having worked for him, he may know small but significant things about Jay Nixon that few others are aware of.
4. Votes in the House that he can point to which highlight a bipartisan, pragmatic and independent streak.
5. Record as a bare-knuckled death penalty prosecutor who "stared cold-blooded killers in the eye" without blinking.
KENNY HULSHOF WEAKNESSES
1. He's a Republican Congressman from Washington, and Missouri has never elected a Governor directly from Congress.
2. He's never run statewide and his name-identification among regular voters is low.
3. The probability that Democrats will link him to S-CHIP, Iraq and President Bush.
4. Having to balance campaigning with casting votes in Washington while minimizing the criticism for doing it.
5. How to gently and delicately point out/attack a female opponent if/when the primary race gets to a hairy point.
SARAH STEELMAN STRENGTHS
1. She's a female statewide officeholder from Rolla.
2. Her reputation as a populist, big-tent Republican who's proven she can attract votes in independent and Democratic-leaning parts of the state.
3. As an executive, she hasn't cast votes in the past four years.
4. Jeff Roe's vote model, Doug McAuliffe's ad machine and Glen Bolger's polling.
5. The fundraising contacts in place to raise approximately $17,000 a day for the primary.
SARAH STEELMAN WEAKNESSES
1. Some hardcore conservatives question her loyalty and don't trust her on the issues.
2. The probability that Democrats will link her to Matt Blunt and the Medicaid cuts.
3. The lack of G.O.P. establishment endorsements (so far) to point to.
4. Lincoln Day buzz that she might eventually drop out to clear the path for Hulshof.
5. Her ability to deliver a rousing, inspiring speech compared to Hulshof.