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Purgason to challenge Engler for top state Senate post

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 25, 2010 - Undeterred by his failed bid for the U.S. Senate, state Sen. Chuck Purgason is launching a new quest -- to win election as Senate president pro tem.

And that means taking on state Sen. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington.


Purgason, R-Caulfield, is raising money via a $500-a-person pheasant shoot Oct. 16. His platform includes pressing to make Missouri a "right-to-work" state that bars closed union shops.

In a letter sent out Friday, Purgason contended that the Senate GOP caucus and the Republican Party "have become more consumed with holding onto power than working for the betterment of our state and its citizens as a whole."

"We must get back to our basic principles of lowering taxes on all business and allowing everyone to compete on a level playing field regardless of size and campaign donations."

"We must also do what other states have done and become a right to work state."

Purgason said he has set up a leadership committee and is asking for donations to help him help other conservatives on the ballot Nov. 2.

Despite his support from many Tea Party activists, Purgason lost his bid for the U.S. Senate on Aug. 3 to now-GOP nominee Roy Blunt, a congressman from Springfield, Mo.

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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