The Last Debate: Gubernatorial hopefuls to battle on TWMP


ST. LOUIS – The final televised debate of the Republican gubernatorial primary is upon us. On Sunday, hopeful candidates will make their final case to the Republican voters to become the party’s nominee on Sunday’s episode of This Week in Missouri Politics.

In the final week of the campaign, Brunner and his team are touring the entire state, continuing their “Can’t Be Bought” bus tour to highlight Brunner as a largely self-funded candidates and that his opponents have relied on large contributions from outside donors. Brunner reached his highest ranking in polls released in June when he led the pack, but since then he has transitioned to a more middle of the pack position – but a lot of people have responded to his message of government run by a more business-minded person. Brunner undoubtedly is hoping there isn’t a flashback to his unsuccessful Senate campaign in 2012 where former Congressman Todd Akin came from behind to top him.

Meanwhile, Kinder is making stops in the western and southwestern parts of the state in cities like Kansas City and Springfield to re-emphasize his record as a conservative who has had a major effect on policy during his long tenure in Jefferson City as a state senator and a lt. governor. In polls released most recently by Remington and Public Policy Polling, Kinder has been listed fourth after many assumed he would win due to his strong name recognition and leadership role in the Republican Party. However, he says he’s happy to be in an underdog role where he says he feels comfortable.

Hanaway is also touring Southwest Missouri this week, hoping to make gains in one of the most conservative areas of the state where she believes her record in the House will be a major asset to her. She’s also hoping to appeal to undecided voters in small markets, and she’s getting more support for Rex Sinquefield and his supporting groups in an effort to push her over the top. She has raised the second largest sum of money for this race behind Greitens, and Public Policy Polling has her in that second place spot among the electorate, and well within a statistical tie with Greitens.

Speaking of the former Navy SEAL, Greitens has raised eyebrows among Republicans and Democrats with questionable fundraising in recent days, but he’s turned heads when polls have shown him in the lead. He went from a virtual unknown to top dog in just under a year. Part of it may be his natural charisma, impressive resume and a (literally) explosive ad campaign, and another may be that in the year of the outsider, people want someone in government who has had nothing to do with politics in the past. Despite his newness to the game, Greitens has proven to be an apt campaigner and an expert fundraiser, even if critics note that he’s light on policy knowledge.

The debate will air Sunday morning at 6:00 a.m. on KRCG in Mid-Missouri and at 11:00 a.m. on KDNL ABC 30 in St. Louis. The episode will be available online Sunday after 12:10 p.m.