Election 2012 / John Brunner
11:22 am
Mon October 3, 2011

Brunner enters race for U.S. Senate

Updated 2:11 p.m. with details

The Republican race to challenge U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill in 2012 is officially a three-way contest.

John Brunner, chairman of St. Louis-based Vi-Jon, Inc.,which makes Germ-X hand sanitizer and other personal care products,  has officially entered the race.

Brunner made the announcement via a 10:45 a.m. press conference Monday. Here are his prepared remarks for you to review.

Brunner, a former Marine, describes himself on his Twitter profile and Facebook page as "a true constitutional conservative running to cut spending, balance the budget, and restore the American Dream." He has a long track record of donating to Republican and conservative causes. But he's never run for public office - which he says makes him the most qualified person to serve.

Jason Rosenbaum also captured this video of Brunner's remarks for the St. Louis Beacon:

"Career politicians with political experience alone are just unable to restore the American dream," Brunner said. "They have no because they have no real world experience to guide them."    

Spokespeople for Congressman Todd Akin and former state treasurer Sarah Steelman both welcomed Brunner into the race but said they remained confident their candidate would win.

Brunner's entry into the race affects Akin more, says University of Missouri-St. Louis political science professor Dave Robertson.

"Brunner, as someone who has supported Akin in the past, who comes from the general area that Todd Akin comes from, really has a chance to split the vote that Akin would have gotten and so probably weakens Akin a little bit more," Robertson said.

Campaign finance records show Brunner and his wife donating $5,000 to Akin's campaign as recently as March.