Hulshof defeats Steelman in GOP gubernatorial primary

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 | 12:35 a.m. CDT; updated 9:52 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Supporters of Kenny Hulshof mingle as the Hulshof campaign crew announces that the incoming vote tally looks promising for the candidate Tuesday night at the Holiday Inn Executive Suites in Columbia.

KANSAS CITY - Congressman Kenny Hulshof defeated state Treasurer Sarah Steelman in Tuesday's Republican primary.

Hulshof will take on Attorney General Jay Nixon in November's general election.

Hulshof received 49.2 percent of the vote to Steelman's 44.7 percent - a margin of more than 17,000 votes.

Hulshof told supporters at the Holiday Inn Select in Columbia that the victory party might have been the first of the year for him, but "this won't be the last," he said, looking toward November.

"I'm ready to take this campaign to all four corners of this state," he remarked to the cheering crowd, many of whom held up blue campaign signs. Hulshof said he plans to take his campaign to "every highway  and byway."

At the celebration, Hulshof's family members filled the center of the room, wearing red shirts labeled "Kenny's Crew."

Mary Schaff, Hulshof's first cousin, said the idea for the group began at a family reunion.

"We're a pretty tight family," she said.

Schaff said she has enjoyed helping her cousin on the campaign trail thus far and is looking forward to the journey toward November.

 "I'm just excited to get back out on the streets (to continue campaigning)," she said.
In his speech to supporters, Hulshof also looked to the road ahead. He began addressing his opponent in the general election, touching on several key issues and Nixon's positions on them.

"I don't have scores to settle or axes to grind," Hulshof said of the campaigning to come. "I've just got work to do."

 In the primary, Hulshof racked up particularly large victory margins in his 9th Congressional District, carrying as much as 90 percent of the vote in some of those rural, northeast Missouri counties. He also fared well in St. Louis County. That combination counteracted Steelman's strength in her south-central Missouri base and in the Kansas City area.

Hulshof said he received a "very gracious" phone call from Steelman before he took the podium to give victory remarks.

"We had a very spirited, tough primary," he said.

 Looking toward the general election campaign, Hulshof remarked that Missourians "don't need old politics, they need a new direction."

 Missourian reporter Marty Swant contributed to this report.

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