Former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, Rep. Todd Akin, and manufacturing executive John Brunner have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in their bid for the Republican nomination in Missouri’s U.S. Senate race.  The winner of the Republican primary will face incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill this November in the general election.

The Cook Political Report has rated Missouri’s U.S. Senate race as “Toss-up”, while the Stu Rothenberg Report rates the race as “Tilt Republican”.  Incumbent Sen. McCaskill won the seat in 2006 with a narrow 50% to 47% victory over the Republican candidate.  In 2010, Sen. Roy Blunt won Missouri’s other Senate seat in a landslide 54.2% to 40.6% over Democrat Robin Carnahan, proving that Republicans have made huge gains among Missouri voters.  As Republicans look to gain ground in the Senate, McCaskill’s Missouri seat represents a major pick-up opportunity for the Republican Party in 2012.

By signing the Pledge, Brunner, Akin, and Steelman have made a written commitment to the taxpayers of Missouri to, “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses … and oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”