5 things to watch in every state: Missouri

This state used to be the bellweather until it was no longer the bellweather.  The state is fairly conservative and seems to be trending to be more and more conservative.  According to recent polling, Trump is likely to win the state by double digits.  Even so, there are a few races worth watching.

  1. U.S. Senate election: Missouri’s Democratic Secretary of State Jason Kander decided not to seek re-election for Secretary of State and chose, instead, to challenge Republican Senator Roy Blunt.  Kander and his campaign have produced some of the most entertaining ads this election cycle.  He is a veteran and is trying to capitalize on that and his pro-2nd amendment stances to distinguish himself from other Democrats who have run in the past (and are currently running).  Blunt had underwater net favorability for a little over a year.  The Democratic Party has been investing heavily in this Senate election.  He will have to run well ahead of Clinton in the state to be able to win. Blunt, so far, has been able to avoid more of the Todd Akin moments that allowed Claire McCaskill to be able to win when she ran.  There is a big investment for both parties in this Senate election and I’m excited to watch the returns come in. If Clinton comes in around 10 points behind Trump, I imagine Kander is able to win.
  2. Missouri gubernatorial election: Democratic Governor Jay Nixon can’t run for re-election due to term limits.  The Missouri Democratic Party nominated current Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to be their gubernatorial nominee.  The Republican Party nominated Eric Greitens to be their nominee.  According to a very recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling, Koster holds a 3 point lead over Greitens.  That’s even with a fairly large Donald Trump lead in the state.  If the lead tightens and Clinton does better than expected, then we’re looking at a potential win for the Democrats.  Republicans hold both the State Senate and the State House of Representatives. so a Democrat in control of the Governor’s mansion is very important for Democrats.
  3. Missouri Attorney General: Democrat Teresa Hensley is running as the Democratic nominee for the Attorney General facing Republican Josh Hawley.  The current Attorney General, Koster is running to be Missouri’s Governor.  Attorney General has generally been seen as a stepping stone to a much bigger politicla field.  ANYWAY. This looks to be a very close race.  Hensley is leading the only polling I’ve seen (taken in July) and was only up by 2 points.  I have to think this is another case of Democrats trying to run ahead of Clinton to be able to win.  The better clinton does in the state, I’d imagine, the better the chances are for the Democratic Party in these offices.
  4. Missouri State Senate District 1: Republicans currently hold botht the State Senate and the State House of Representatives by a wide margin.  Republicans are trying hard to take back one of the few seats Democrats have. Democrat Scott Sifton was able to defeat Republican incumbent Jim Lembke by 1,634 votes (89,744 votes cast).  This was a very close election.
  5. Amendment 3/Proposition A: There are quite a bit of ballot measures on the statewide ballot in Missouri.  There is a constitutional amendment facing a statute against each other on the ballot.  Amendment 3 would raise the cigarette tax by 60 cents a pack.  Both gubernatorial candidates oppose the measure.  Critics of the amendment allege that “big tobacco” is the reason why it is showing up on the ballot and will actually help their companies.  Most of the major newspapers in the area are critical of the measure arguing that the Amendment is a trap for voters.  Proposition A would increase the cigarette taxes by 23 cents by 2021.  Both gubernatorial candidates oppose this measure, as well. Both measures are trending to be opposed on Tuesday but I’m not so sure there are that many people who are going to ignore an increased tax on tobacco.
  6. Amendment 2: This Amendment is trying to limit campaign financing funds for state office and judicial office.  It would also prohibit trying to hide who your donors are for these campaign funds.  This measure is basically supported by the elected Democratic officials in Missouri and opposed by Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens.  I am always interested in trying to find campaign finance laws that will stick and this one looks like it is going to pass.
  7. Amendment 6: Over the last 8 years or so, there ha sbeen an increased call by Republican legislatures to pass voter id laws.  These laws are ostensibly pased to combat inperson voter fraud.  I’ve written about the subject, here. This is the first time that I’ve seen such a law for a ballot measure.  This measure is being supported Greitens and numerous elected Republican officials in Missouri.  Nixon and candidate Ksoter oppose the measure as does the NAACP.   I don’t believe that such a measure should be passed but looking at the polling, it’s likely it will.