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GOP heavyweight Gov. Chris Christie stumps for Dave Spence

Fundraiser and rally raises thousands for Spence's gubernatorial bid

September 23, 2012|Mary Moloney, KSPR News Reporter | mmoloney@kspr.com

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Missouri Republicans brought in the conservative heavyweight, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, to motivate and inspire members of the Grand Old Party during a Springfield rally.

"There was great energy. People were whooping and clapping and getting excited. It's great for Missouri that he is here and great for Dave Spence whose campaign is really starting to surge at the right time. So it's good, it's fun," said Ed Martin, Republican candidate for Missouri Attorney General.

The rising GOP star stumped for Dave Spence, Republican candidate in Missouri's gubernatorial race.

"I was totally impressed with Governor Christie," said Spence's friend, Charlie Brown. "As a matter of fact, he gave me a kick in the behind to give me some incentive to get some things done that I haven't done already."

Hundreds of supporters packed the Ramada Oasis Convention Center for a rally. A private fundraiser for the Spence campaign followed the event.

Christie spoke about job creation in the Show-Me State and how important every election is.

"Governor Jay Nixon's path here in Missouri is identical to the President's path. Fewer jobs in America today when Barack Obama became President. Fewer jobs in Missouri today than before Jay Nixon became Governor," Christie said to his friendly audience.

Not everyone was happy about the appearance. Former State Representative, Chuck Wooten, Republican from Nixa, touted incumbent Jay Nixon.

"I can't understand why they bring in Christie to town to support Spence when the unemployment in his state is a whole lot worse than it is. It's way above the national average. In Missouri, it's below the national average," said Wooten.

Peggy Stepp, a longtime Nixon supporter and political activist, is not concerned by Christie's appearance. Instead, she focused on who works best for Missouri.

"A lot of the things Jay (Nixon) put in place are now what help make Missouri a better place to live," smiled Stepp. "I think he's a fine gentleman, good family man, and he really cares about all Missourians."

As for Spence, Stepp questioned his ability to lead a state.

"I'm concerned that Spence comes from a business background, not as highly thought of as he's touted it to be," Stepp said. "But what government experience does he have?"

Dave Spence is former CEO and owner of Alpha Packaging, a St. Louis plastics maker. This is his first bid for office.

Spence's business experience is appealing to some voters.

"He is a fine gentleman. He is not a politician, but a businessman. And that's what we need in our government as our head man here in Missouri," Brown said firmly. "You've got a Governor's race that's interesting. You've got a full time politician against a business man and that's going to be part of it."

As the political season enters the final stretch, one thing both sides can agree on is the importance of a vote.

"Say your prayers today for all the candidates and our opponents. Vote on November 6 and between now and then do everything else you can possibly do to let us win," smiled Martin.

"I would encourage people to vote and to listen to go and find out the issues," said Stepp. "Forget the hype from both sides and look at your issues and see what resonates with you."

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