JEFFERSON CITY • Bryan Cooper won the endorsement of the anti-abortion Missouri Right to Life Political Action Committee — but not according to a mailer floating around his St. Charles County-based Missouri House district.
Cooper, an O'Fallon Republican running in Tuesday's primary, said his friend sent him a picture of the mailer Thursday night. The mailer, paid for by former state Rep. Ron Hicks' campaign committee, says Hicks is the "only candidate endorsed" by the Missouri Right to Life PAC.
"They know that I am endorsed by Missouri Right to Life," Cooper told the Post-Dispatch, "and to put that on there is disappointing."
Cooper said he contacted the Missouri Right to Life, which corrected the record on its Facebook page Thursday night.
"We have been made aware by supporters in this district that erroneous information concerning our endorsement has been mailed by a candidate," the committee said. "Please be advised that BOTH candidates, Hicks and Cooper, have received the same endorsement for this primary."
Hicks, of Dardenne Prairie, did not respond to requests for comment on Friday. Cooper and Hicks are running in western St. Charles County's 102nd District, which includes all or parts of Defiance, Dardenne Prairie, New Melle, and O'Fallon.
According to campaign filings this week, Hicks reported $1,563 in the days leading up to the primary after spending $5,346 on recent printing and mailing expenses. It is unclear whether the costs for the mailings in question appear in the expense report.
Cooper reported $1,437 on-hand this week, and spent $2,613 on "campaign materials" during the last reporting period. He said it is impossible to combat the misinformation through a mailer of his own at this juncture.
"To counter a mailer like that would cost a whole lot of money," he said.
The mailer also raises questions about Cooper's support for the Second Amendment. Hicks said he was endorsed by the NRA Political Victory Fund, but put a question mark next to Cooper's name.
Cooper said he supports the Second Amendment, and isn't surprised he didn't win the NRA's endorsement. Unlike Hicks, he has no voting record. Cooper received a grade of "AQ" from the organization; the NRA describes those with AQ ratings as "pro-gun" candidates with no voting record.
Hicks, who represented a St. Peters-based district until 2016, resigned that year after the Post-Dispatch reported that he had moved out of the district.
Hicks also has a mostly pro-union voting record, and said recently he is undecided on how to vote on the right-to-work referendum coming up on primary day. Cooper has said he is voting to keep the law.