With Roy Blunt’s retirement announcement, a wide array of candidates have emerged to fill Missouri’s second seat in the United States Senate. One such candidate, Spencer Toder, stopped at DuKum Inn in Kirksville March 30 while on his campaign trail.
He stated his dreams and ambitions for the state as well as the nation, and brought vouchers for free drinks and free appetizers as a token of goodwill. He spoke in front of a respectably sized crowd of around 15 before wading into the crowd to meet and speak with each table.
The Democratic pool of Missouri senate candidates is crowded, with some frontrunners, including the Busch family heiress and a former Marine. The depth of contenders does not bother Toder however. He said the other candidates are appealing to large fundraising donors, and the ordinary people have been left behind. He said candidate Trudy Busch Valentine was an opportunist, only announcing her candidacy the day before the meeting. Toder said her entry into the race hasn’t impacted his campaign plans at all because they are appealing to different bases and because he has a year’s head start.
Toder spoke of his origins as the founder of a startup company and his subsequent decision to run for office because of his desire to seek the most impactful thing he could do at the current stage of his life. He explained that he hosts events at local colleges instead of for large, corporate donors because his whole campaign message is to make people’s voices heard.
“[The] donors already have their voices being heard … they have the means and can do whatever they want,” Toder said. “As someone who hasn’t always had the means, I know how hard it is to feel like you’re not being heard. That’s what it feels like to be young … it feels like there’s nothing you can do or say that makes a difference, and that’s not true,
He said many politicians completely discredit and ignore the youth vote. However, he said few politicians actually reach out to college age voters to get their input and views on important and relevant issues.
He gave a message to college students who may not be interested in politics or who believe it does not pertain to them.
“I would say that if you don’t think politics is important, you are either coming from a place of privilege or you don’t realize just how much it impacts your life,” Toder said.
The primary elections will be held August 2 to decide the Republican and Democratic nominees, and the election for Roy Blunt’s seat will be November 8.