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Cole County native falls short in Democratic U.S. Senate race

Lucas Kunce speaks to supporters Friday, June 29, 2022, at Stephens Lake Park in Columbia.
Lucas Kunce speaks to supporters Friday, June 29, 2022, at Stephens Lake Park in Columbia.


Cole County native and former U.S. Marine Lucas Kunce fell short in his populism-fueled bid at the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.

At the end of the night, Trudy Busch Valentine brought in 43 percent of the votes to Kunce's 38 percent. "It's a miracle, the people in this room, misfits all of us, we put together a team ... we put together a team that cared we put together a different type of race and that movement is never ending," Kunce said during a concession speech from his watch party in Kansas City.

Kunce was riding high on his latest endorsement heading into the primary election Tuesday.

Kunce touted the endorsement of former presidential candidate and progressive leader U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. Kunce announced the Sanders endorsement Monday around the same time that former president Donald Trump made his cryptic "ERIC" endorsement in the Republican primary.

Kunce was in Kansas City on Tuesday night watching the results come in.

Kunce was born and raised in Cole County and he says through Pell grants, scholarships, and the kindness of people around town he made it to college. The Cole County native is a 13-year Marine Corps veteran, serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He then worked at a non-profit that fights back against corporate monopolies.

The Democrat says he hopes to fundamentally change who has power in this country if he wins.

As a Jefferson City native, Kunce says he knows what it's like to live in a working-class neighborhood where people lived paycheck-to-paycheck. Kunce says he is here to invest in Missouri and the Midwest.

Kunce has received some backlash based on claims he is anti-abortion and against LGBTQ rights that come from a past state legislative campaign. Kunce says he found those accusations to be crazy and untrue. He says the attacks come from the well-heeled Busch Valentine, who can't connect with regular Missourians because of her class status.

"I stand for everything that I want to stand for. You can see it all on the website. We're putting out our ads. You know I support gay marriage. I support access to abortion," Kunce said Wednesday.

Article Topic Follows: Your Voice Your Vote

Kennedy Miller


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