CLOUT: Conservative Talk Show Host Renee Hulshof Sees McCaskill Winning A Squeaker

CLOUT is a regular feature from Beyond November that profiles the pols, pals and pundits who influence the candidates and their campaigns. Have a suggestion for a Clout profile? Send an e-mail to Richard Weiss at rweiss@stlbeacon.org.

This interview for Beyond November was conducted and written by Tim Poor, a former Washington correspondent and national editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Name:  Renee L. Hulshof

Party:  Republican

Age: 44

Job: Radio co-host, commentator, KFRU-AM in Columbia, Mo.

Twitter: @ReneeHulshof

Education: University of Missouri

Clout:  Hulshof began co-hosting a popular weekday Columbia morning radio show in January 2009, about the time her husband, Kenny Hulshof, was leaving Congress following an unsuccessful bid for governor (he lost to Jay Nixon). The counterpoint to the more liberal Simon Rose, Hulshof is conservative but not as strident as many other GOP broadcasters. Her influence stems from catering to a mid-Missouri sensibility that tends toward economic conservatism but with the sensitivity to social issues necessary in a university town. “I’m a Boone County Republican,” she says. Although pro-life, she adds,  “I  don’t walk around beating my chest on social issues. I believe in the big tent. I’d rather look for things within the party that unify us. Arguing social issues on a daily basis doesn’t get that done.  I hate name-calling.  That solves nothing.”

“I know I’ve done a good job when…: “People stop me around town to tell me what it was I said that day on the radio.  Either way, they were listening.” I love the freedom that my husband being out of politics gives me,” she says. (he’s now a public policy attorney in Kansas City and Washington).

Beyond November:  “So many states do not have their fiscal houses in order. Our country does not have its fiscal house in order. Regardless of who wins the White House, we cannot continue to have everything as it currently stands.  We have got to both raise revenue and cut expenses.  Someone in Washington is going to have to be the mom. We’ve been living on borrowed money for far too long.  Everybody’s been too timid about it.  That might mean a tax increase.  We cannot solve it simply by cutting everything down to the bone. You can’t solve it with one solution. There’s going to be much wailing and gnashing of teeth on all fronts.”

Biggest political disappointment: The 2008 governor’s race. “Kenny and I made the decision to step into that race given very little time.  In politics, timing is everything.  We picked the wrong time.  It was difficult to lose in that manner.  The primary was divisive, ugly.”

Political hero: “Anyone who has the guts and courage to put their name on the ballot.  Many people are content to hide behind their anonymity and snipe at people in public office. Very few people have the courage to put their name on the dotted line.”

Most important race: Presidential.  “We will either continue down the path we are on or we will see a change in that direction … It’s a fundamental difference in which direction this country will turn.” Also, the Senate race in Missouri. “It’s fascinating to watch.”

Underrated race: The race for the 4th Congressional district, where the lines were redrawn, pitting incumbent Republican Vicky Hartzler against Democrat Teresa Hensley. “I don’t think people have quite enough knowledge about that race.”

Biggest primary surprise: Senate Republican primary.  “I fully expected that John Brunner would pull that one out.  It was a surprise to me how that race went down.  Three-way way primaries are weird.”

Akin/McCaskill prediction:  “Senator McCaskill will end up winning, but it will be very close.  I think that in the polling data we’re not getting a  good feel for where they voters really are — they don’t want to tell people they’ll vote for Akin.”

Posted in CLOUT: Influential pols, pals & pundits, Commentary