MO-GOV: Steelman v. Hulshof for the Republican Nomination [Updated: Kinder Endorses Hulshof]

Since the surprise announcement by Missouri Governor Matt Blunt that he would not seek re-election, the race for the GOP nomination has been anything but ordinary. The two candidates are U.S. Representative Kenny Hulshof (MO-09) and Missouri State Treasurer Sarah Steelman. A local blog, the Relevant Elephant, has conducted interviews with both candidates. Rep Hulshof’s can be found here while Steelman’s can be found here.

One the issues there isn’t a whole lot that separates Hulshof and Steelman. (Unless otherwise noted, information in the issues section is from the candidate’s website. I’m not exactly impressed by either sites lack of content for the most part. Based on website alone I would have to give this one to Steelman. Hers is much sharper and has far more content dealing with the issues.)

Economic Issues

  • Rep Hulshof was in the House when the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 were passed. He was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee at the time and he was one of the Congressmen that helped push the bill through. He has also called for making those tax cuts permanent.

  • Rep Hulshof has pledged that he will not raise taxes.

  • Rep Hulshof has proposed that property tax assessments be frozen for those age 65 or older with an adjusted gross income less than $52,000.

  • Rep Hulshof has been endorsed by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce PAC.

  • Rep Hulshof has repeatedly sponsored bills calling for the end of the estate tax and suspension of various duties on imported goods.

  • Steelman fought hundreds of millions of dollars of tax payer money that would have been used to help the St. Louis Cardinals fund their new ball stadium.

  • Steelman voted on multiple occasions to cut taxes when she was a State Senator.

  • Steelman has called for the repeal of St. Louis City and Kansas City’s earnings tax. Hulshof is on board.

  • Steelman favors an amendment to the Missouri State Constitution that would bar judges from imposing taxes from the bench.

  • Steelman has proposed increasing the personal exemption deduction and dependent deduction on state income taxes (See her website for detailed numbers) to provide tax relief for families.

  • Steelman plans to use the line-item veto to prevent the corrupt practice of pork barrel spending.

  • Steelman has called for the repeal of the state’s ethanol mandate. As of right now, Hulshof still supports the mandate.

Social Issues

  • Rep Hulshof has earned a 100% rating from the National Right to Life.

  • Rep Hulshof wants to criminalize coerced abortions.

  • Rep Hulshof favors a twenty four hour wait period between a description of the procedure by a doctor and an abortion.

  • Both Rep Hulshof and Steelman have called for an end to tax-payer funded embryonic stem cell research.

  • Both Rep Hulshof and Steelman are strong on gun rights (which is almost a given for Republicans in Missouri)/

  • Steelman is seeking Pharmacist Rights of Conscience legislation that would allow a pharmacist to opt out of filling birth control and morning after drugs.

  • Steelman was a sponsor of the amendment to the Missouri Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

  • Steelman has vowed to fight eminent domain abuse.

  • Steelman (as State Treasurer) has made MOST(Missouri’s 529 program) into one of the premier programs in the nation.

  • Steelman has called for the ending of the Missouri Assessment Program in favor of administering the ACT at the high school level.

  • Steelman would prohibit sanctuary cities in Missouri.

  • Sadly it appears that neither candidate has publicly supported school choice through either vouchers or tax credits.

Campaign Ugliness

Both campaigns have decided that this primary is going to be an ugly one. I won’t take the time to chronicle the whole saga, but you can get a sense of it by viewing their television commercials. Hulshof’s can be found here and Steelman’s here.

My Support Goes To…

At this point I’m really not sure who to favor. Both candidates have a very solid conservative record. Both candidates would be great stewards of the Governorship. My wild card in this is the rumored endorsement of Rep Hulshof by State Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder. Kinder is a solid Conservative and is very well connected in Missouri state politics. Because of his experience at the national level and his ability to pull together much of the state party, I believe that I will be supporting Kenny Hulshof for Missouri Governor.

In the end it may not matter as both candidates are trailing Democrat candidate and current State Attorney General Jay Nixon.

[Update]: It’s official. Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder has endorsed Kenny Hulshof. This puts every major Republican politician (less Governor Blunt who has vowed to stay out of the primary) in Hulshof’s corner.