July 4th – The most patriotic day of the year and this year Austin Petersen Celebrated in the most patriotic way he knew possible, by announcing his run for the US Senate in Missouri. (Live video below).
The Announcement Party at the Petersen’s Stonegait Farms and estate was very well attended. The event included a kids bouncy house, barbeque and a live band. But of course the pinicle of the night was when Petersen got on the stage and said “I will be running for the Senate and will be running as a Republican.
We have been reporting on Austin’s possible Senate run since he first hinted at it in January. Then just three days ago we reported that Austin Petersen was expected to announce his run for the US Senate at his estate, Stonegait Farms in Peculiar, Missouri on July 4th. Now we are able to report not only is Austin running, but he is running as a Republican. The linked Op-Ed published in the Kansas City Star was accidentally released early this morning before Petersen’s announcement but as a matter of editorial integrity we choose not to release this until Austin planned to release it.
The party Austin was to run in was a mystery up until now, however, he has always hinted he was going to run as a Republican. Unlike most Libertarians, the former presidential candidate was very warmly received by many in the conservative movement including radio host Glenn Beck and Conservative (former Republican) strategist Mary Matalin. Petersen even got your support where he won in a landslide in The Conservatarian Libertarian Primary Poll and eventually even our endorsement for the nomination. The support Austin received was most likely because he was open to receiving it.
When Rand Paul dropped out of the Republican Primary it was Petersen who reached out for his supporters. When Ted Cruz dropped out it was Petersen who again reached out for his supporters with the below tweet. Unlike most Libertarians Austin was one of the few to reach out to the closest ideology, one of the few to reach out to conservatives.
— Austin Petersen (@AP4Liberty) July 21, 2016
If Austin wins the primary he will be facing Claire McCaskill, a 12 year incumbent Democrat. McCaskill’s seat is considered to be a seat in danger in the Democrats and even the national media’s eyes. But Senator McCaskill is no stranger to close political races. She only won her 2006 race by about 2%. Then in 2012 she was thought to be gone until Congressman Todd Atkins misspoke when asked if women that are raped should be allowed to have abortions and the “legitimate rape” controversy (quote below). Before the controversy, McCaskill was down by about 10 points and after the controversy, she won by 10 points.
“Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
– Congressman Todd Atkins and Former Senate Candidate
To get the chance to face Claire Senate Candidate Austin Petersen will have to first win the Republican primary which is looking to be fierce with a chance to be crowded but only one major competitor is thought to be confirmed. That one competitor is Attorney General Josh Hawley who is already attracting “dark money” for negative attack ads according to the St.Louis Post-Dispatch. Hawley is thought to be a rising star in the conservative and tea party movement. At just 37 he is only 1 year older than Petersen but as Attorney General, you can only expect him to have greater name recognition and in-state connections.
While the odds seem tough for Petersen they are far from impossible. If you remember Matt Bevin the current Governor of Kentucky he had a very similar political career. Both came from backgrounds of entrepreneurship and both faced establishment figures in what were seen as nationwide races. Petersen ran for the Libertarian Presidental nomination from left leaning moderate Gary Johnson and Matt Bevin ran for the Republican Senate nomination from left leaning moderate Mitch McConnell. Neither won their perspective races but both garnered a huge amount of name recognition. That name recognition was something Bevin used to separate himself in a crowded nomination field and afterward built upon to establish himself as “the only adult” in the nomination.
To win Petersen needs to find a way for him to stick out and show himself as the competent leadership Missouri needs in the Senate. Whatever the issue his team will have to prove to a large base of conservative Republicans that a Tea Party libertarian is what is needed in the Senate right now.
As said in our last article Petersen’s greatest challenge will not be the general election, Missouri seems to be strongly Trump country. The greatest challenge to winning this nomination will be attracting Tea Party and conservative voters to defeat Hawley. Will Petersen win? Well to do that he first must get the nomination which we will see if he does come Republican Primary season.