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Republican state senator announces bid for Missouri secretary of state

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 2, 2011 - State Sen. Scott T. Rupp, R-Wentzville, has declared his candidacy for Missouri secretary of state, a post now held by Democrat Robin Carnahan. Rupp contended his legislative record shows that he would use the office to improve the economy, and "to root out election fraud."

Rupp's decision, announced this afternoon on the 97.1 FM Dave Glover Show, had been expected. He first had indicated his interest last winter.

Rupp's declaration made clear that he plans to focus on the post's role in overseeing state businesses as well as the Republican emphasis on alleged voter fraud.

"The citizens of Missouri deserve a secretary of state who will represent their values and one who will fight to protect their interests," Rupp said.

"I have the passion and resolve to take on the tough issues, and I can get results for our state," said Rupp in his announcement. "We need an aggressive secretary of state that is willing to root out election fraud and individuals and organizations that commit it, not one who through inaction encourages it."

"Missourians should have complete confidence that both their election system and their investments are secure and free from fraud," he said.

He took sharp verbal shots at Carnahan, who has been secretary of state since 2005 and has said she plans to run for a third term. "For the last seven years we have had a liberal in charge of our election system who has recently been more interested in joining President (Barack) Obama in Washington than she has been in protecting Missouri's interests," Rupp asserted. "I believe Missourians are ready for a change."

Rupp has tangled with the Carnahan family before. He was a leader in the congressional redistricting effort that resulted, in effect, in the elimination of the congressional district now represented by the secretary of state's brother, U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis.

Rupp is in the midst of his final term in the state Senate; he earlier served two terms in the state House. He also is a vice president at UMB Bank.

Rupp cited his record "in crafting and passing Missouri's tough illegal immigration laws" and his involvement in changing the state's stalking laws so that they apply to predators on the internet.

He also pointed to his involvement in bills creating "new protections against fraudulent auto warranty schemes, identity theft and title insurance scams," and in overseeing federal stimulus spending.

Rupp said that his business background makes him better suited for dealing with the job's functions overseeing business filings and monitoring the sales of securities.

"We need a secretary of state that will play an active role in turning our economy around," Rupp said. "I will work to create a stronger business environment free of unnecessary obstacles and regulations and protect Missouri jobs for Missouri workers."

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