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At a Cass County farm, Palin campaigns for Steelman

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin urged Missouri Republicans on Friday to pick a “mama grizzly” — Sarah Steelman — in the state’s tight GOP Senate contest.

“She has the backbone to stand up for what’s right,” Palin told more than 700 people gathered at the Berry Patch farm in Cass County.

The former Alaska governor helped serve barbecue to the crowd after the speech. Many in the audience waited more than an hour in the heat to hear from the well-known conservative.

Palin’s appearance is expected to give Steelman’s campaign a boost headed into the race’s final days. The former state treasurer has been close in recent polls to GOP opponents John Brunner and Rep. Todd Akin.

Palin did not mention either candidate by name, but she appeared to refer to Brunner’s large financial advantage.

Steelman “doesn’t have the big bucks,” she said.

Brunner has spent more than $7.5 million of his own money in the race, records show. Steelman has spent $800,000 of her own money.

Before the rally, Steelman said Brunner’s money is one reason for the large number of undecided voters.

“I think those negative ads drove people off,” she said.

Earlier this week, Brunner called Palin’s appearance a “celebrity endorsement.”

Akin had spent none of his money on the campaign through midweek.

The winner of Tuesday’s primary will face Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, in November.

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