The Cook Political Report's Jennifer Duffy says Congressman Roy Blunt is a stronger Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in 2010 than former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman.
"When you look at the bigger picture, he's the strongest candidate they have right now," Duffy said in an interview. "Obviously, Steelman would disagree. But you watched that campaign, I watched that campaign, and I'd have to beg to differ," Duffy said, referring to Steelman's 2008 unsuccessful candidacy for Governor.
"She was a better know quantity in that race against (Kenny) Hulshof, and she lost. I thought some of her arguments against him were weak," Duffy said.
Steelman is considered a likely primary challenger, this time against Blunt for U.S. Senate. Duffy said Blunt would have a significant financial advantage over Steelman in a match-up -- unless The Club for Growth got actively involved.
"They could sort of change the math for her. When The Club for Growth comes in and gets involved, it becomes a slightly more ideological battle," Duffy said. "But, they're responsible for lots of lost Congressional and Senate seats. Democrats would love for the Club to get involved, because it's always good for them."
Duffy said the Club usually aligns itself with the more fiscally conservative candidate in the primary race that ultimately loses and/or significantly damages the GOP nominee for the general election.
Duffy has been tracking U.S. Senate races for the Washington, D.C.-based The Cook Political Report for twenty years.