Longshot U.S. Senate candidate Chuck Purgason said he's encouraged by a new Public Policy Polling survey that shows his support in double-digits and noted that Congressman Roy Blunt's high unfavorable numbers in the Ozarks exemplify the problems of the Republican Party's frontrunner.
The poll, conducted between November 13 and 15th, shows Purgason trailing Blunt, 53% to 16%in a primary match-up. But in a potential general election match-up, as a candidate that 75 percent of the state doesn't know, Purgason only loses to Democrat Robin Carnahan by seven points.
"When you work grassroots, you start by planting seeds," Purgason said in an interview with The Notebook Wednesday night.
"WE'RE GOING TO BE ON DEFENSE"
"Polls don't have much affect on me. I have my basic core values and that's what I'm going to do no matter the poll, but I think it's encouraging," Purgason added. "I think what it tells you is that there's a strong anti-incumbency mood out there and that's what I've been seeing as I travel the state. The two parties are so blurred in their leadership."
Purgason pointed to Blunt's 38% favorable rating in the 417-Ozarks area code. "Those aren't very good numbers. We haven't even seen the negative attacks on Congressman Blunt yet. The bridge to nowhere, the TARP bailouts, the cash for clunkers. We're going to get into a fight that we don't have to have. We're going to be on defense," he said.
In the Ozarks, voters are divided over Blunt's favorability, 38%-38%. Carnahan's favorability in 417-land is 26%. Purgason's is only 10 percent.
"NOT IN THIS FOR A DEAL"
But in all of the crosstabs of the data, Purgason's biggest obstacle is name identification. Three-quarters of the state's potential voters don't seem to have enough information to render an opinion on him.
Purgason acknowledges that fundraising has been a challenge. "It's tough to do. Until filing opens and people know I'm serious, people are trying to figure out if I'm serious about this. I've had people say, what are you holding out for? But I'm not in this for a deal."
Asked about potential fundraising opportunities, Purgason said he has been in touch with the conservative Washington, D.C. based group, The Club for Growth. But he seemed hesitant about attempting to tap into money from interest groups outside Missouri.
"If a pro-second Amendment or pro-life group or conservative group wanted to give me money, I would accept it. I don't have any problems taking money from people who agree with my core values. But I really have a problem with so much money coming from Washington into Missouri races," Purgason said, adding that he knows he's "a little nieve."
"Look at all the outside money in the Blunt campaign. I would like to stay away from all that," he said.
When pressed, Purgason said he would accept the Club for Growth's backing if offered. "I would like to have their help, I'm just not thrilled about going to Washington to get it. And I can't afford the plane ticket right now," he said.
But the Caulfield State Senator realizes the only way he'll become a real threat for the GOP nomination, is if he's able to raise some cash.
At the end of the September, Purgason reported raising only around $11,000, with just $1,067 on hand to spend. He reported a total of about 20 contributors.
"I honestly think if I had half the money either of them had," he said, referring to Blunt and Carnahan, "I could win this race."