JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt turned back a tea party competitor Tuesday in Missouri's Republican U.S. Senate primary, setting up a long-anticipated showdown with Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.
The general election matchup between Blunt and Carnahan will pit two of Missouri's most prominent political families against each other for the first time in one of the nation's more closely contested U.S. Senate races. They will be competing to replace Republican Kit Bond, who is retiring after 24 years in the Senate.
Blunt prevailed in a nine-way Republican primary that also featured state Sen. Chuck Purgason, a quail farmer who was a favorite of many tea party activists. Carnahan won easily against two lesser-known Democratic opponents.
Carnahan and Blunt already had been campaigning against each other long before Tuesday's primary victories.
Blunt has tried to link Carnahan to President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He has been particularly outspoken against the new federal health care law and $862 billion stimulus package, both of which Carnahan has supported.
Carnahan has characterized Blunt as the ultimate Washington insider. She criticized him for ranking among the top recipients of lobbyist contributions and helping negotiate a now-unpopular 2008 law bailing out troubled financial institutions.
Yet both Blunt and Carnahan have played up some humble attributes.
Blunt, 60, recalls how he was raised on a dairy farm in southwest Missouri in a home that lacked running water and insulation. Carnahan, who turns 49 on Wednesday, stresses that although she lives in St. Louis, she still helps run her family's cattle farm in Rolla.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)