VOTERS GUIDE: Missouri candidates for U.S. Senate

Friday, August 3, 2012 | 3:05 p.m. CDT; updated 8:50 p.m. CDT, Friday, August 3, 2012

WHAT'S THE JOB? The U.S. Senate comprises 100 members, two from each state, who serve six-year terms. Democrats currently hold the majority with 51 members, plus two Independents who caucus with them.

The Senate is responsible for passing legislation and has the exclusive authority to ratify treaties and give advice and consent to nominees for federal offices made by the president. The Senate also tries all impeachments.

Senators must be at least 30 and have at least nine years of U.S. citizenship. They must also be a resident of the state they represent.  The current salary for a senator is $174,000.

Claire McCaskill (D) 

McCaskill is the incumbent senator seeking election to a second term. Before serving in the Senate, she was state auditor from 1999 to 2007. In 2004, McCaskill defeated fellow Democrat and incumbent Gov. Bob Holden in the gubernatorial primary. She went on to narrowly lose the general election to then-Secretary of State Matt Blunt. 

McCaskill was born in Rolla before moving to Columbia and graduating from Hickman High School. She now lives in St. Louis. 

In the Senate, McCaskill serves on the Armed Services, Homeland Security, Commerce and Aging committees. 

If re-elected, McCaskill said, she would work to protect tax cuts for working families and small businesses. She also would oppose attempts to privatize Social Security and Medicare. 

"We’re still recovering from the devastation caused by Wall Street’s recklessness, and I simply can’t agree with my opponents who, in their rush to the far right, would hand over our seniors’ security to Wall Street," she said. 

  • Personal: Age 59. Married to Joe Shepard with three children and four stepchildren.
  • Education: Bachelor's degree in political science and law degree from MU. 
  • Occupation: Missouri House of Representatives, 1983-1989; Jackson County Prosecutor, 1993-1999; Missouri State Auditor, 1999-2007.
  • Campaign website:

Todd Akin (R) 

Todd Akin was elected to Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District in 2000. He serves on the U.S. House Armed Services, Science and Technology, and Budget committees. He is chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces.

While in the U.S. House, Akin has voted several times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, supported a balanced budget amendment and advocated for less regulation from the federal government. He has also proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would limit federal spending to 18 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. If elected to the U.S. Senate, Akin would continue to support these policies, according to his website. 

"I am running for the U.S. Senate because our freedoms are under attack," he said. 

Akin has criticized the Senate for not passing a budget plan in more than three years. He said the growth of the federal government and the economic crisis is destroying businesses. 

"I have fought this expansion in Congress but have watched as the Senate ignores the Constitution and refuses to address this pending crisis," he said

Before running for Congress, Akin was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1988, where he represented the St. Louis area and gained a reputation for being one of the most conservative lawmakers in the legislature. He was born in New York but raised in St. Louis.

  • Personal: Age 65. Married to Lulli Akin. They have six children and eight grandchildren.
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in management engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 1971; master of divinity degree from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, 1984.
  • Background: U.S. Army; engineer with IBM; management with Laclede Steel; former state representative.
  • Campaign website:

Jerry Beck (R) 

Beck's reason for running his campaign is to promote something he has a lot of experience in — manufacturing. 

He said his top priority is "restoring factories and jobs." Beck said he also would fight for legislation to provide subsidies to farmers whose crops have been affected by the drought. 

Beck ran unsuccessfully as a Constitution Party candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2010. He said his votes would not be cast on what his political party wants but rather what he thinks is best for the people of Missouri.  

"I won't have special interests tugging at my purse strings," he said. 

Beck, of La Monte, is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and a member of the National Rifle Association.  

  • Personal: Age 73. Single with two children.
  • Education: Attended Northeast Missouri State Teachers College, now Truman State University, for two years.
  • Occupation:  Retired, formerly the founder and owner of Millennium Manufacturing. 
  • Campaign website:

Sarah Steelman (R) 

Sarah Steelman of Rolla says she wants to change the status quo, referring to both the nation’s economic and political situation.

Steelman wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and pass a federal balanced budget amendment. She said she would try to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution similar to Missouri’s Hancock Amendment, which limits the growth of state spending and forces most tax increases to be approved by Missouri voters.

Steelman, a former state treasurer, said she also wants to get the country "headed in a very different direction" and build up the economy while creating jobs. She wants to reform the nation’s tax structure to move toward a flatter tax and is calling for a moratorium on all business regulations because they are "choking businesses to death."

"We need to get our financial house in order … people are just worried sick if their kids and grandkids will be able to get jobs."

  • Personal: Age 54. Married to David Steelman. They have four children and one grandchild.
  • Previous occupation: Former state treasurer.
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in history and master’s in economics from MU.
  • Background: Former state senator; former member of of the board of trustees for Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan; former chairwoman of the Missouri College Savings Board; former economist with the Missouri Department of Revenue.
  • Campaign website:

John G. Brunner (R)

John Brunner is new to politics, at least as a candidate.

Brunner, a St. Louis bussinessman, said he entered the U.S. Senate race because he thinks career politicians are part of the problem. He was CEO of Vi-Jon Laboratories, which manufactures soaps, mouthwash and other personal care products that are then branded under store logos.

"The more I dug down … I didn’t get the sense of a steady hand at the wheel (in Washington)," he said during a meeting of the Columbia Pachyderm Club while discussing Missouri’s incumbent senator and his Republican opponents.

Throughout his campaign, Brunner has been running as a "citizen-senator" to distinguish himself from what he calls "career politicians." "I’m not looking for a career – I’ve already had a career," he said at the same meeting, adding later that he would limit himself to two terms as a U.S. senator.

Brunner said he will use his private sector experience to support job growth, balance the federal budget and loosen federal business regulations.

  • Personal: Age 60. Married to Jan Brunner. They have three children and six grandchildren.
  • Occupation: Retired. He is former chairman and CEO of Vi-Jon Laboratories.
  • Education: Bachelor’s in science from Harding University, 1974; MBA from John M. Olin School of Business Administration at Washington University in St. Louis, 1989; studied economics at the Foundation of Economic Education in New York.
  • Background: Platoon commander in the Marine Corps. He has made multiple mission trips to Zimbabwe, the Philippines and Grenada.
  • Campaign website:

Mark Memoly (R) 

Mark Memoly is all about "reducing costs" and says he has specific tasks for what the U.S. Senate can do to accomplish this goal, including faster transportation and cleaner energy production. He lives in Lee's Summit.

Memoly said he supports using bullet trains to reduce travel costs and high speed rail to generate tourism and more revenue.

A 35-year veteran of the automotive and commercial truck industry, Memoly said he has made contacts throughout his career that would be necessary to “generate prosperity in all of our communities.”

  • Personal: Age 57. He has two children. 
  • Education: Bachelor of business administration in marketing from Stetson University, 1977; master's in business administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University, 1982.
  • Occupation: Owner of ATB Sales LLC.
  • Background: Writer; senior district sales manager at Kenworth Truck Co.; various area sales and managerial positions with Ford Motor Co.
  • Campaign website:

Mark Patrick Lodes (R) 

Lodes' campaign is focused on Missouri and Missouri alone. He is refusing to accept endorsements or money from outside the state. 

"Politicians have become far too disconnected," he said.

Lodes also is refusing to accept campaign contributions of more than $5. If elected, he said, his top priority will be "jobs, jobs, jobs." He also is an advocate for small businesses, saying he would strive to reduce their tax burden, ease regulations and offer tax credits for those who hire new employees.

  • Personal: Age 34. Divorced with children. 
  • Education: Bachelor's degree in political science from MU.
  • Occupation: Small business owner.

Robert (B0b) Poole (R) 

The Missourian was unable to reach Poole for comment. His campaign website lists his stances on a series of issues, which include removing the tax on diesel fuel for six months, offering tax breaks for citizens 60 years and older and paying off school debts and loans for all students who maintain an A/B average and graduate.

Poole lives in Macon. He has filed no campaign finance reporters with the Federal Elections Commission.

Hector Maldonado (R)

Maldonado did not reply to emails asking for additional information. The Missouri Republican Party did not have contact information for him, and he has not filed any campaign finance reports with the Federal Elections Commission.  

He ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2010. During that campaign, he advocated tax breaks and tax incentives for small businesses. He also called for overhauling the health care system. 

Maldonado was born in Mexico and became a U.S. citizen in 1995. He now lives in Sullivan. 

  • Personal: Age 40. Married to Maria Maldonado. They have three children.
  • Education: Bachelor's degree in political science from California State University, San Bernardino.
  • Occupation: He served 15 years active military duty, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Campaign website:

Jonathan Dine (Libertarian) 

Calls for additional information to the Libertarian Party and emails to Jonathan Dine were not returned. Dine has not filed campaign finance reports with the Federal Elections Commission. Dine is a native of California and now lives in Riverside. 

Dine ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010. His stated priorities then were to get the economy back on track by returning to the gold standard. He also supported legalization of marijuana and term limits for members of Congress. 

  • Personal: Age 32. Single. He has a daughter.
  • Education: High school degree
  • Occupation: Personal trainer in Kansas City

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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