Updated 10/23/2012, 11:12 a.m., to include response from the Mo. Democratic Party.
The Republican challenger trying to unseat Democratic Governor Jay Nixon took his campaign to Missouri’s capital city Monday.
Dave Spence went forward with his campaign stop despite losing his big-name keynote speaker: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) was supposed to introduce Spence in Jefferson City and headline fundraisers in St. Louis and Kansas City, but canceled following a deadly shooting in the Milwaukee area. Spence agreed with Walker’s decision and carried on without him.
“He absolutely did the right thing," Spence told the crowd of around 150. "He put people before politics.”
Spence then launched into an attack on Nixon’s record as governor.
“There are thousands of businesses in our state that are just barely hanging on," Spence said. "I’ve gone to town squares where it’s half-boarded up – a bail bonds, a tattoo parlor, a diner that closed, and people talk about the factory that used to be there and how many kids and families have had to leave.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R) filled in for Governor Walker. He told the crowd that Spence’s business background qualifies him to be governor.
“What will lead us to economic success, what will lead the world again, is private sector job creation," Blunt said. "We just happen to have a guy running for governor who knows more about that than anybody who’s ever run for governor in any time that I’m aware of in our state – ever.”
Also appearing at the rally were U.S. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R), who’s seeking election to the newly-reshaped Third Congressional seat, and Republican State Treasurer nominee Cole McNary, who's trying to unseat incumbent Democrat Clint Zweifel.
Meanwhile, Missouri Democratic Party spokesman Isaac Wright provided the following statement following Spence's Jefferson City campaign stop:
"Unfortunately this is the kind of nonsense you’d expect from a guy who tried to pass off his 'home economics' degree as an 'economics' degree. The fact is that because Gov. Jay Nixon brought Democrats and Republicans together to balance the budget, hold the line on taxes, and negotiate record investments from Ford and GM, now Missouri's unemployment rate is at a four-year low and nearly a full point below the national average."
Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport