Trudy Busch

Trudy Busch Valentine waves to supporters as she enters the stage at her victory party after winning the Missouri Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate in St. Louis on Tuesday, August 2, 2022. 

Trudy Busch Valentine’s campaign message of improving health care, support for abortion rights, and ridding Missouri of divisive politics played well throughout the state, not just the St. Louis and Kansas City areas.  She prevailed over Democratic rivals to win the nomination for one of the state’s U.S. Senate seats.

Busch won 42.2 percent of the vote and Lucas Kunce received 38.4%. None of the remaining four Democratic contenders topped 5%.

Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Busch will battle in November to replace retiring U.S. Sen Roy Blunt, a Republican.

During her victory speech at the Sheet Metals Union Building in south St. Louis, Valentine said it is time for a nurse to serve in the U.S. Senate.

“When I was young, I saw nurses take care of people, stay calm in a crisis, and solve problems. I became a nurse because I was inspired by their dedication to service. I brought that dedication to this campaign which is why I am standing here as the Democratic nominee,” she said to cheers and applause.

“Missouri has been split apart by career politicians. They spend their time fighting each other and making names for themselves instead of focusing on solving real problems.”

On the campaign trail she was repeatedly asked why she entered politics. She answered following her win on Tuesday night.

“I was tired of seeing costs rise while families lose ground. I was tired of seeing the middle class get squeezed out, and thousands of Missouri families, including mine, are being devastated by the opioid epidemic. I couldn’t sit on the sideline anymore. That’s why I ran,” she said.

Valentine lost a son to an opioid overdose.

“You believed in my vision for a kinder, stronger Missouri,” she told supporters and Missourians who voted for her.

“You saw what I saw; that our nation needs to heal. And that after hundreds of career politicians, it’s time for a nurse in the Senate.”

She called the summer campaign, “an incredible journey,” adding, “I have learned so much and we are just getting started.”

Valentine thanked the other Democratic candidates for running because “it is so good for our Democracy when people step up and run. Thank you.”

Unlike Schmitt, whose victory speech was peppered with subtle insults, Valentine reached out to all Missourians.

“I’m so grateful to every Missourian who believed in our campaign and our vision for a better Missouri,” Valentine said.

“Having your trust and support is something I will never take for granted. This moment is truly the greatest honor of my life.”

Terri Murray, a north county resident, graduated from Saint Louis University’s School of Nursing about a year before Valentine, and supports her because “she knows the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion and cares deeply about better healthcare for everyone.”

“She’s authentic, genuine, has a really good heart, and a heart for service. She’s included me in a lot of things that people of her status probably would not have.”

Darryl Jones, another north county resident, shared the same sentiment as Murray about Valentine having a passion for helping others and making Missouri a better state. He’s gotten to know Valentine through their work together on various nonprofit boards. 

Christopher Bedell, a real estate attorney who lives in West County, said he believed Valentine would prevail.

“As a lifelong St. Louisan born and raised, the Busches are the royal family to me,” he said. “Being able to see a Busch save Missouri from a very rightwing Republican, I think that’s something I could get behind. She’s the most serious candidate.”

Valentine also spoke to Republicans and Democrats who did not support her.

“To the many people in the state who didn’t vote for me, or have never voted for a Democrat, my entire campaign is about putting politics aside and putting people first,” she said.

“That means finding solutions that work for all of us. Lowering inflation, bringing down the cost of basic necessities, making sure that everyone can afford to be seen by a doctor, protecting the ability of everyone to make their own health care decisions, and working to end the opioid epidemic that has devastated our communities.

“Whether you voted for me or not, I’m going to work hard in the Senate for you every day. I’m going to approach politics the same way I approach nursing and my life. I’m going to treat others with compassion, respect and integrity. I’m going to put our differences aside and embrace what unites us. I’m going to do what every public servant should do; serve the people they represent and reach across party aisles so we can all work together.”

She then said the nation can be healed “with acts of love and kindness.”

“Whether you are a Republican, Democrat, or independent, you are a Missourian and, in my book, you always come first,” she said.

 

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