Beans and ballots were on the table at Saturday's annual Newton County Republican bean feed, hosted at Neosho Middle School by the party's central committee.
All of Missouri's state and federal Republican candidates, except for U.S. Senate hopeful Todd Akin, were present to dish out late-hour rallying speeches three days before election day. Also there to anchor the night's list of speakers was U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, who is not up for reelection.
Blunt plugged all of the state and federal GOP contenders on Tuesday's ballot, starting with incumbent U.S. Rep. Billy Long. Speaking as a citizen of Missouri's 7th House District, Blunt said he was proud to be represented by Long in Congress.
“He's done a great job,” Blunt said.
Long is being challenged in Tuesday’s election by Democratic opponent Jim Evans and Libertarian candidate Kevin Craig.
Later, Blunt indicated he wasn’t worried about Long getting reelected, or about Republicans retaining control of the U.S. House in general. The Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate, however, is “very much up for grabs,” he noted. Missouri Republicans are putting up Todd Akin, a current U.S. Representative, against Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill. Also in that race is Libertarian Jonathan Dine.
Blunt referenced a publicized Friday statement by Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that Senate Democrats would not work with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney if Romney is elected.
“This seat could very well be about the majority in the Senate,” Blunt said of the Missouri U.S. Senate race. “There is no doubt in my mind that Governor Romney as President Romney will not be nearly as effective with Harry Reid as Majority Leader as he will with (current Republican Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell as the Majority Leader.”
He later said that Reid as Majority Leader “is unacceptable if we’re going to get the country turned around.”
“Todd Akin is the one guy we get to vote for who can do something about that,” Blunt said.
Blunt noted that the number one domestic goal of federal and state governments should be private sector job creation. He praised Missouri gubernatorial candidate David Spence, former owner of Alpha Packaging, who earlier in the night had stated he grew his business from 15 employees to 860 employees.
“Dave Spence knows how to do this and it needs to be done,” Blunt said.
Spence is challenging incumbent Democratic governor Jay Nixon, as well as Libertarian candidate Jim Higgins.
Blunt noted he had been the first Republican elected as Missouri Secretary of State in 52 years (there was one appointment in between). The only other Republican elected to that post since was his son, Matt Blunt, later Missouri governor. He propped Republican Secretary of State candidate Shane Schoeller, who has called for creation of a citizen-led fair ballot language commission.
Page 2 of 3 - “It makes a big difference when the person who is in charge of the elections is absolutely committed to you knowing whatever happened on election day is what really happened,” Blunt said, a jab at incumbent Democrat Secretary of State Robin Carnahan who Republicans have accused of writing misleading ballot language. “It’s tough enough sometimes to accept election results, but it’s really tough to accept them if you don’t believe what happened is what really happened.”
After two terms, Carnahan is not seeking reelection. Running instead on the Democratic ticket is Jason Kander. Also in that race are Libertarian Cisse Spragins and Constitutionalist Justin Harter.
Schoeller has also been a big proponent of voter identification.
“Of course we should have voter ID — you have to have a photo ID to get a tattoo,” Blunt quipped.
On the Missouri Lt. Governor’s race, Blunt said that “Missouri has never had a lieutenant governor that knows more about state government” than incumbent Republican Peter Kinder.
Kinder, who is seeking a third four-year term, faces Democrat Susan Montee, Libertarian Matthew Copple and Constitutionalist Cynthia Davis.
Regarding the hotly contested Missouri Attorney General’s race, Blunt gave high praise to Republican candidate Ed Martin.
“If you want somebody who will keep an eye on things in Jefferson City and has the temerity to do it, it’s Ed Martin,” Blunt said.
Martin is challenging Democratic incumbent Chris Koster, along with Libertarian contester Dave Browning.
Blunt also plugged Missouri Treasurer candidate Cole McNary, who will face Democrat incumbent Clint Zweifel, and Libertarian Sean O’Toole.
Shifting to the presidential campaign, Blunt called it a “critical moment” for the nation. He posed that this presidential race is the “biggest, greatest choice” since the Reagan versus Carter election of 1980 and perhaps even more so.
“We’re going to decide who we’re going to be for a long time,” Blunt said. “And the choice is clear. It’s never been clearer.”
Blunt accused Democratic President Barack Obama of wanting the United States “to become another version of Europe” and went down the list of economically troubled countries with socialist policies.
He told a story of meeting a tree trimmer who told him his sons used to complain about always having to pick up every scrap of tree waste afterward, as nobody else did it that way.
“He told me, ‘every time they said that, I looked them right in the eye and said if you do it like everybody else does it you’re just everybody else,’” Blunt related. “That’s what we have to decide. Are we going to be ‘everybody else’ or are we going to be the United States of America? Let’s be the United States of America.”
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