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Blunt offers up praise for Schweich in letter read at fundraiser

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 5, 2009 - Republican state auditor candidate Tom Schweich got a pleasant surprise at his own fundraiser Sunday night, when the evening's emcee -- Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder -- read a complimentary letter from his party's best-known candidate for the U.S. Senate, Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Springfield.

Blunt has yet to endorse anyone for the GOP state auditor contest, which currently pits Schweich against state Rep. Allen Icet, R-Wildwood. And from all accounts, the letter stopped short of making one -- instead, simply praising Schweich.

Blunt's action, say some Republicans privately, may be aimed at bolstering his standing among some of the influential heavy-hitters supporting Schweich. Those speaking at the event, which attracted over 200 and was held at the Ritz Carlton in Clayton, included: former Sen. John C. Danforth and former U.S. ambassadors Sam Fox, head of Harbour Group, and Bert Walker of Stifel Nicolaus.

UPDATE -- Here's the text of Blunt's letter:

Dear Friends,

Sorry I am not able to join you and Ambassadors Schweich and Bolton at what I know will be a wonderful event hosted by Ambassador and Mrs. Fox.

I had planned to be there but had to be back in Washington where I am continuing to focus on health care debate. I'm Chairman of the House Republican Health Care Solutions Group. We are focused on fixing what's wrong with the current health care system and keeping what's working, rather than following the President's path to government-run health care.

Tom Schweich would bring a tremendous background of public service and great credentials in finance and management to the State Auditor's job. I know you are about to get an important update on that contest along with Ambassador Bolton's insight on the challenges we face as a nation.

Sincere Regards,

Roy Blunt

Schweich would say only that he was surprised and pleased by Blunt's kind words.

The evening's major attraction was former UN ambassador/current commentator John Bolton, a favorite with conservatives. As the Beacon has reported earlier, Bolton has appeared at several fundraising events for Schweich, including a huge one a couple months ago in Springfield, Mo.

Schweich estimated that he raised about $150,000. About half of that money will be shown on his next campaign finance report, due Oct. 15, because the checks were received by the Sept. 30 deadline for donations.

Meanwhile, Blunt unveiled today his new campaign Web site.He also had his own high-profile event Saturday featuring fellow Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., who became famous after his shout-out during President Barack Obama's recent health care address.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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