Category Archives: Missouri Senate Race

Akin claims statistical dead heat

Rep. Todd Akin‘s campaign is touting new poll numbers that place the Missouri Republican in a statistical dead heat with incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill in a closely watched Senate race. The outcome may determine which party controls the upper chamber when the new Congress is seated in January.

Mason-Dixon Polling & Research surveyed 625 registered voters, showing McCaskill up 45 – 43%, with 8% undecided. The poll was conducted for KMOV-TV in St. Louis, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Kansas City Star, and has a margin of error of +/- 4%.

In an email to supporters, the Akin campaign noted that the challenger has been outspent 10-1 in recent weeks. Indeed, it’s been hard not to notice the paucity of Akin ads on the airwaves as we come down the home stretch of this election, though I did see one on Fox News this evening sponsored by Freedom’s Defense Fund.

The Akin campaign rallied supporters in an email last night, pointing to just-released independent poll numbers showing the race to be a dead heat.

That may be the real problem for Akin. Money – or lack of it. In conservative-leaning Missouri, amidst a recent national upswing for the GOP, and with unflinching support from his base, Akin has managed to even the race.

The question is whether Akin will be able to hold his own with the remaining undecided voters. He is currently behind with independents (and presumably most of the remaining undecideds are also independents), so he’s got to break that trend to capture his share of votes still on the table. If he can do that, he can win – because among existing supporters, I believe Akin’s are more committed and more likely to show up at the polls on Election Day, or vote early, or absentee.

Akin needs money to win some of these undecideds. Will GOP groups come to the rescue, in the form of independent expenditures on TV time and other efforts? That remains to be seen.

But if you are a Missouri Republican and you have been avoiding this race, it’s time to get off the sidelines.

Who do you support? Show it – with your time or your money or in your conversation with friends and family. Because one of these two candidates will represent Missouri in the Senate for the next six years. I for one do not want that person to be Claire McCaskill, and I’m not afraid to say it.

Note: I’ve updated this post today (10/27/12 around 2pm) to correctly identify Freedom’s Defense Fund (I called it America’s Freedom Fund earlier) and link to the group and its ad. I’ve also named the media outlets that commissioned the poll, and linked to the KMOV report cited in the Akin email.
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Filed under 2012 Congressional Elections, Missouri Politics, Missouri Senate Race

NRSC playing in Missouri?

I opened a fundraising letter today from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, signed by Chairman John Cornyn of Texas. It’s focus is on “defeating Barack Obama and winning a Senate Majority in the 2012 Elections.”

While the appeal does not cite Todd Akin or any other GOP senate candidate by name, it notes that …”Missouri has a nationally targeted Senate race this year. …. And with Missouri’s seat currently held by a Democrat, we want to make absolutely sure we have the resources necessary to put that seat in the GOP column.”

There’s no commitment in the letter that that the NRSC will play in Missouri and help out Todd Akin beat Claire McCaskill – actually I’m not even sure that legally they could make make that kind of statement. But it’s interesting that they’re citing the state’s race when asking rank and file Missouri Republicans for for dollars.

I’d call that a little bit cynical (i.e. politics as usual) – unless the committee is still open to the idea of putting money in the state later if the race looks winnable.

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Senate race officially kicks off

The U.S. Senate race in Missouri has officially commenced.

Secretary of State Robin Carnhan announced her candidacy just a few hours ago in a news release and in video on her website. A member of one of Missouri’s most influential political families, the Democrat has been considered the leading contender for her party’s nomination for some time.

The Missouri Republican Party instantly responded, criticizing Carnahan for failing to share her positions on key issues, and posing a list of questions for the newly-minted candidate. Some of them are classic “gotcha” questions, of course:

  • “With the current economic situation and the rising cost of healthcare, do you accept the “nobody’s perfect” defense of Tim Geithner and Tom Daschle and their failure to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes that they owed? Do you agree that the country is facing extraordinary challenges and that now is not the time for tax dodgers to hold important governmental office?”

But others are significant, and are certainly likely to become campaign issues, including some clearly designed to draw Carnahan out on liberal social issues:

  • “Timely, Targeted and Temporary” is what the economic stimulus package is supposed to be but currently it is filled with big dollar giveaways for special interest groups. This legislation loads future generations with the burden of massive debt without helping the millions of Americans in need, today. Can Missourians count on you to say NO to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and fight for legislation that will help people, create jobs, and provide a jolt to our economy?”
  • “At the end of President Obama‘s first week in office it was clear that he was not going to protect life at all stages. Do you value all life? Do you support the Freedom of Choice Act?”
  • “Do you support President Obama’s insistence that all firearms have trigger locks?”

I thought Carnahan looked good (spoke well, nice image, workmanlike office background, sounded a few conservative tones about spending, etc.) in the announcement, but it was, as MRP suggested, a pretty bland affair filled with ordinary rhetoric. As of 5:00 p.m. today, Carnahan’s announcement had already been viewed at least 1834 times on YouTube. The Missouri Democratic Party sent an email announcement at 4:38 p.m., 18 minutes after MRP fired off its own release.

This election could feature a highly competitive GOP primary potentially benefiting Carnahan in the way the HulshofSteelman primary benefited Nixon in his gubernatorial bid last year. Whether she faces Roy Blunt, Jim Talent, Sarah Steelman, Sam Graves or someone else, Carnahan’s pedigree and a pro-Democratic environment (which could easily change by November 2010) does not guarantee her any kind of bankable edge: she is going to have a very tough fight on her hands, no matter what.

Whoever emerges to face Carnahan, I would like to see a conservative candidate draw clear contrasts on a variety of issues (particularly the growth of government), take bold stands against misguided presidential and congressional action and propose substantive policies that will preserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for Missourians and all Americans.

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Could Senate primary be hot on both sides?

There’s plenty of talk about Missouri’s soon-to-be open U.S. Senate seat, with the coming retirement of Kit Bond. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan is the natural front-runner for the Democrats, but on the GOP side there is no clear favorite. Which means, of course, that the state party could see another hotly contested statewide primary, following this cycle’s gubernatorial primary between Rep. Kenny Hulshof and former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman. You’ve heard the names before:

Rep. Roy Blunt

former Sen. Jim Talent

former Secretary of State Sarah Steelman

Rep. Sam Graves

The Democrats could have their own race, however, and it certainly could be fun to watch. Rep. Lacy Clay is purportedly considering challenging Carnahan in the primary.

Question: How much of the Democratic primary vote is Black? While Carnahan obviously has much better name ID statewide, and has won statewide before, and probably has the better network, if Clay can win a large majority of the Black vote, that would seem to make him at least competitive, right off the bat.

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Just one question.

Once Kit Bond is out, will Claire McCaskill actually (have to) start worrying about bringing home the bacon?

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Will Roy Blunt’s new post help or hinder Senate chances?

From the Politico, via the Springfield News-Leader/ky3 Political Notebook, via John Combest, comes this:

Blunt to get new leadership role

The longtime Republican whip has been selected by Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) to oversee the party’s ranking committee members and integrate them more into leadership strategies.

Blunt has to be thinking about running for Kit Bond’s newly open Senate Seat in 2010, which poses a question:

Is this new leadership post for Blunt a good or bad thing? It puts him back into the thick of things in D.C., but is that really what will help him back home in a statewide race two years from now? Or could that in fact be a hindrance?

After major “change” elections in 2006 and 2008 (as opposed to “reward” cycles, when incumbent politicians are rewarded because people think things are going well) is another stamp of one’s insider credentials really a good thing?

Perhaps not.

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Filed under Missouri Politics, Missouri Senate Race