ST. LOUIS — Control of the U.S. Senate could come through Missouri where Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine hopes to flip a red seat blue.
Recent polls show her trailing Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R-Missouri), a more seasoned politician, who has criticized her privileged upbringing.
"Eric Schmitt doesn't know me at all," she said. "I became a nurse a long time ago because I care about others. And all through my life, I've tried to give back and help others. It doesn't mean because I have money that I am any less a human being."
She grew up with a last name that was a household name in America. Now, the heir to the Anheuser Busch fortune aims to make a name for herself.
"I want to be the change that people want to see," she said. "And I'm not going to D.C. to become a swanky political person. I am going to D.C. to serve the people of Missouri. That's what politicians should be doing. They should not be worried about what they get from other companies, from other people. They should not be in the pockets of people. The only people that they should answer to are the voters that elected them."
While her opponent has highlighted her inherited wealth to paint her as out of touch, her campaign has highlighted her acquaintance with tragic loss and sudden grief to suggest she can connect with regular voters.
Busch Valentine is a widow who raised six children before she later remarried, a mother who buried a son lost to a drug overdose and though she never lacked for money, she still went to work to become a nurse.
The first-time candidate timidly told some of those stories as she rode on an RV tour on the campaign trail across Missouri to meet with voters.
During her tour, she sat down for a one-on-one interview to discuss her stances on issues ranging from guns, abortion, controversial curriculum in classrooms, conflicts of interest in Congress, and how she would feel about President Joe Biden running for a second term.
The full interview aired first on the pilot episode of 'The Record' with Mark Maxwell, the political editor for 5 On Your Side.
Schmitt has also been invited to interview on 'The Record.'
5 On Your Side's new political program launches with less than seven weeks to go before Americans cast their ballots in the 2022 midterm. The weekly program will feature newsmakers and political power players in Missouri and Illinois politics.
You can watch new episodes of 'The Record' every week on the 5+ app and the KSDK YouTube channel.