Beer heiress Trudy Busch Valentine wins Missouri Democratic nomination for US Senate
The Anheuser-Busch heiress Trudy Busch Valentine won the Democratic nomination for the open U.S. Senate seat from Missouri on Tuesday, defeat his closest rival, the former Marine Lucas Kunce.
With nearly all precinct reports, Busch had won 43% of the vote, to Kunce’s 38%.
Throughout her campaign, Valentine said working as a nurse and experiencing immense grief over family tragedies taught her to listen to people’s needs and be of service.
“When I was young, I saw nurses take care of people, stay calm in a crisis, and solve problems,” Valentine said, during her election watch party at Sheet Metal Workers Local 36 Union Hall in St. Louis. “I became a nurse because I was inspired by their dedication to service. And that same dedication to service is why I stand here tonight as your Democratic nominee for the United States Senate.
Valentine thanked Kunce and all of her main suitors, saying, “It’s so good for democracy when people step in and run.”
Valentine entered the U.S. Senate race in March, becoming one of 11 candidates for the Democratic nomination to replace retired U.S. Senator Roy Blunt. Like Valentine, the other Democratic candidates have never held public office before. However, both Kunce and Toder launched their campaigns over a year ago.
“It speaks to her strength as a candidate that she was able to come in and muster huge amounts of support very quickly,” said Jack Seigel, a former political staffer and St. Louis County resident. “It’s impressive.”
Valentine, a mother of six and nurse, is a member of the family that held a majority stake in Anheuser-Busch until the brewing company was sold to InBev in 2008 for $52 billion. Forbes magazine in 2020 listed the family’s wealth at $17.6 billion, the 16th largest family fortune in the country.
She told The Independent this spring that she felt driven to do all she could to fight the opioid epidemic and improve access to quality health care, following the death of her son in 2020 from an opioid overdose.
In addition to her son’s passing, Valentine said she was also inspired to enter politics out of a desire to stand up for women’s rights. In June, Valentine published a 17 point plan for “Strengthening the Middle Class,” which includes raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, expanding affordable housing options, and lowering drug costs.
The first major political proposal of Valentine’s Day, released in May focused on helping addicts recover by using the leverage in federal payments for Medicaid to increase provider rates, faster access to treatment, and expanded use of telehealth.
In the home stretch of the campaign, she drew scorn from some grassroots members of her party after fumbling for answers on LGBTQ rights, campaign finance and critical race theory. She also drew criticism for her refusal to debate her Democratic rivals.
But in the end, the support of Democratic leaders — such as St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver — and her willingness to spend her family fortune to grab the seat led her to the seat. victoire.
Justin Idleburg, a racial equity consultant in St. Louis, said he decided to support Valentine because her experience as a nurse makes her better able to meet the healing needs of her community.
“We need a healer,” Idleburg said. “And nothing against men, but when a child is injured, they automatically go to their mother or grandmother. And she is a nurse who is used to helping everyone.
Kunce addressed a crowd of about 50 staff, volunteers and supporters in downtown Kansas City just before 11 p.m.
“I love you all,” he began. “We’ve done something amazing here.”
Kunce said the campaign made him think of his working class upbringing, when he wore thrift store clothes while other kids had name brands. His campaign, he says, ran into the same kind of system.
“We knew what it was about,” he said. “We knew it was about money and nothing else.”
He urged children growing up in thrift store clothes to watch how his campaign – made up of “misfits” – came to victory, noting that Valentine’s TV spending has overwhelmed his.
Kunce thanked his staff, who he said “built a movement.”
“We didn’t win, but it’s a miracle what we did,” Kunce said, adding that his campaign’s job now is to support Democrats in the November ballot. “Because Missouri is the frontline of the fight for democracy. I really believe it.