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State Senator to run for federal office

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – A Republican state Senator known for wearing bolo ties and cowboy boots on the floor will run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Kit Bond.

When he's not in Jefferson City, Chuck Purgason operates an 800-acre hunting preserve in the southern Missouri district he's represented since 2004; he served in the state House before that.

Purgason has gained a reputation as a fiscal conservative, and plans to make that a central part of his campaign.

"You can't give politicians a credit card and expect them to use it wisely, and what we've got to do is get our financial house in order or we're going to be in trouble as a nation," he said, adding that the issue has wide appeal in all areas of the state.

Purgason championed then Gov. Matt Blunt's plans to slash about 100,000 from the Medicaid rolls in 2005. Thursday's announcement means he's running against the former governor's father, Congressman Roy Blunt.

The two campaigns, Purgason said, will be a contrast of Washington versus grass-roots-based efforts.

"Ours will be a campaign where my wife helps me, my daughter does my Web site, my son does the press releases," Purgason said. He does not expect to out-raise Blunt, who reported having $1.7 million on hand in the latest Federal Election Commission filings.

The winner of any Republican primary will likely face Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan next November.