State Senator Chuck Purgason (R-Caulfield) makes it official : He is in the Republican race to succeed outgoing U.S. Senator Christopher "Kit" Bond.
Purgason made the announcement at the Ozark Cafe in West Plains, ending any doubts that might have existed following his setting up of an exploratory committee in mid-June.
Purgason joins southwest Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt in the contest for the GOP nomination. He realizes he faces an uphill climb in terms of fundraising and getting his name known throughout the state.
"It’s a big challenge," said Purgason in an interview with the Missourinet. "But, you know, I think that people are getting tired of politics as usual. You know, I think that anybody that’s been in Washington is going to need a lot of money to explain what Washington’s been doing and I just want to run a grassroots campaign that gets out and gets back to the basics of what this party was founded on."
Purgason points out he differs from Blunt in the desire to restore fiscal conservatism to Missouri and the country.
"I believe in the Republican principles," said Purgason. "And what we’ve been doing is sending people that didn’t stand firm on those principles. and what we’ve got to do is start sending some people up there that just basically say, ‘No,’ we’re going to get this budget balanced and just follow through with it."
The State Senator sees no future in going down the same road and he feels this makes his a fresh face among both Republican Blunt and likely Democratic candidate Robin Carnahan.
"I believe that there’s a time for fresh faces in politics," said Purgason. "The two names that are at the top, right now, are longtime names in politics and you can see the direction that we continually keep going. So, I think that people, after a while, are going to wake up and say we need some fresh faces."
As for whether he thinks he has a realistic chance of winning the Republican nomination next August and the general election in November of 2010, Purgason believes in his chances.
"If I didn’t think there was a chance of winning," exclaimed Purgason. "I wouldn’t waste my time."
Asked to comment on Purgason’s entry into the race, Blunt spokesman Rich Chrismer informed the Missourinet: "Our campaign is going to keep the focus on Robin Carnahan and her liberal positions in support of out of control taxing, out of control spending and out of control debt and borrowing."
Chrismer also pointed out that 19 of Senator Purgason’s 22 Republican colleagues have already endorsed Congressman Blunt.