Retired businessman John Brunner on Monday formally entered the crowded Republican field seeking to be Missouri’s next governor, touting himself as a political outsider with the leadership experience to bring needed change to state government.
In a video announcement, the former Marine captain and retired CEO of Vi-Jon Inc., his family’s hand-sanitizer and personal care product company, pointed out that he’s never held public office, making him the second GOP candidate without such political experience.
“As governor I won’t have to hunt for the instruction manual and I won’t have to bring in the consultants,” said Brunner, 63. “I understand firsthand through decades of experience what it will take to get the job done.”
Brunner, who lives in the St. Louis suburb of Frontenac, needs to distinguish himself from the four other GOP candidates: State Sen. Bob Dixon, former Navy SEAL officer Eric Greitens, former U.S. attorney and Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.
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Brunner isn’t a new face in Missouri politics. He’s long been a donor to other conservative candidates and he poured millions of dollars into a failed U.S. Senate campaign in 2012. Brunner lost in a Republican primary to former U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, who in turn lost to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.