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Brunner courts evangelicals in new radio ad

ST. LOUIS – Businessman and Republican gubernatorial candidate John Brunner has released his first ad of the 2016 election season Monday. In the ad, his wife, Jan, touts his religious conviction and kindheartedness.

Jan first begins by emphasizing her husband’s private sector experience as a business owner and his time in the service as a Marine, describing both as acts of volunteerism, but then she transitions into his time working for their church.

“What you may not know is that John is a man of faith,” Jan says. “John and I met as teenagers in church and this June we’ll be married for 40 years. John believes in putting his faith into action. So, he helps build orphanages and churches, supports Christian missions around the world, and provides scholarships for the children of our fallen soldiers.”

A comment from the campaign’s communications director Mike Hafner also highlighted John’s experience as a missionary along with the other experiences most commonly cited on his resume as a family businessman and US Marine.

“We’re excited to be the first campaign out of the gate to begin airing a powerful character and values-driven ad to communicate John Brunner’s experience and beliefs to Missouri voters,” Hafner said in a statement. “John Brunner is a US Marine, CEO, life-long conservative, and missionary who believes in putting beliefs into action to get the job done.”

Brunner currently serves on the board of the Nashville-based Grace Evangelistic Ministries, an organization whose purpose states, “We are a search and rescue mission team to the lost and hopeless; proclaiming the accurate gospel message of salvation by faith alone in Christ alone, to any who will hear, training them to train others…leaving a legacy of Truth that endures for all eternity.”

A St. Louis Post-Dispatch profile written during Brunner’s US Senate campaign in 2012 told that he also visited Zimbabwe for a church group.

This new focus could serve to set Brunner apart from the rest of the field to court evangelicals, who mainly flocked to the former Congressman Todd Akin in the 2012 Senate race. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is Methodist, and former Speaker Catherine Hanaway is Catholic.

Eric Greitens, who occupies the same “political outsider” niche as Brunner, was called the “Great Jewish Hope” in a 2015 Washington Free Beacon profile.