Lucas Kunce makes final campaign stop in Independence

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 10:28 PM CDT
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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (KCTV) - The Democratic primary ballot for U.S. Senate in Missouri has a slew of names, but polling suggests it has now come down to two: Lucas Kunce and Trudy Busch Valentine.

Kunce made his final stop in the city where he lives.

He sells himself as a populist: a lawyer who went to Yale on a Pell grant then served in the Marines after living paycheck to paycheck as a child.

“My family doesn’t have generational wealth,” Kunce told the crowd, a reference to his opponent who is an heiress whose campaign has been largely self-funded. “But I tell you what, that means I know how everyday Missourians live.”

About 50 people attended the rally, some longtime supporters, some just recently getting on board.

“This guy is a real deal. He’s a veteran like me. A 13-year Marine veteran and he wants to turn things around in this country,” said Bill Sunderland, who live in Independence.

“He can identify with some of the struggles I’ve had and I identify a lot with his struggles that he explained today, his family, his upbringing,” said Angie Isom, from Grandview. “I really get the grassroots thing and that really resonates with me.”

“He speaks out in favor of hard working people, and labor unions have been weakened in this country,” said North Kansas City voter Daniel Scharpenburg. “And also getting money out of politics I think is really important.”

Busch Valentine is a nurse from St. Louis whose family’s fortune came from Anheuser-Busch beer empire. He son died due to opioid addiction. She’s spoken about going after big pharma for their role in addiction and finding more money for addiction treatment services in underserved areas.

KCTV5′s polling shows Kunce behind Busch Valentine in the polls, but he’s led the pack in fundraising. He’s touted getting small donations in large number.

At Monday’s rally, he highlighted his military service when he decried Congress’s failure to provide benefits to veterans exposed to toxins from burn pits, then he pivoted seamlessly to abortion.

“They said we were fighting for freedom. And now look around. Looks what’s happened over the last few months. Where is freedom under attack? It’s right here. Just look at the Dobbs decision.”

The Dobbs decision is the United States Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Kunce reiterated his vow to not take money from lobbyists or PACs and positioned himself as the Democrat most likely to get crossover support in a red state.

“Talking about the burn pits. I published an OpEd on that. Does anybody know where I published it? Fox baby. I got it on Fox News. Because we’ve got to go after these people for their lies,” he said, garnering a roar of applause. “If you are afraid to get out of your bubble, you will never win.”

Missouri has open primaries, so you can vote on any party ticket, regardless of which party is on your voter registration, even if you’re not affiliated with a political party.

Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.