In the Missouri Governorship race that is set to heat up soon, it appears that despite a recent upturn in highly unpopular Matt Blunt's approval ratings, (they're in the forties instead of the thirties), he's still crushed by highly popular Democratic Attorney General Jay Nixon. It looks like this about to be a likely pick up, and a very sweet at that, as Blunt beat McCaskill by barely 3 percentage points in 2004, and it seemed to top off the Republuican trend in Missouri, (the MO-GOP having just come off a narrow, narrow victory over Sen. Jean Carnahan in the 2002 special election). Winning this would oddly reverse the situation, and having a popular Democrat at the helm of the Missouri Government would probably greatly help the State Democratic Party. Democrats are on a roll as it is, they took two state Senate seats in 2006, and six state house seats as well, (though they still have hearty defecits in both houses). We easily held the position of State Auditor against a strong GOP candidate and a slightly less than superb Democrat, and in a collosal victory, we took Sen. Jim Talent, one of the best funded GOP incumbents and savvy campaigner by the standards of media pundits.
The one thing we need to do to cap it off is to win back the Governorship and hold the position of Attorney General, which I feel Robin Carnahan would likely run for. The only tricky part would holding the position of Secretay of State, which in Missouri holds slightly more power than it does in other states.
Blunt is highly unpopular, for many reasons. The best way to characterize it is that he just hasn't hit it off. He was slammed unmercifully in the beginning of his term when he tried to balance the state budget without raising taxes by eliminating the states First Steps program, and slashing Medicaid, (after heavy pressure the Legislature reinstated First Steps). Slightly less controversial were his reforms to the state tort system, and worker compensation laws in order to make the state a more “business friendly environment”, which is Republican for going along with what the corporate business interests want. Not only that but he's faced a two pronged sword, and been hurt from both ends of the political spectrum. His rather laudable refusal to let the Missouri State Legislature, controlled by the wingnut faction of the Republican party, completely ban all stem cell research in the state, and his tactit support of minimum wage balot inniative, have hurt him with the far right. Not only that, but Democrats have a strong, united position against him. So his approval ratings have flatlined around the low forties, and his disapproval ratings are averaging around 56-59 percent. hardly a popular guy.
But, I still figured that his support level would around 45-48 percent in early polling, him being an incumbent, and with the far right of the Republican always falling into line in close elections, (especially when their opponent is a strong Demcrat like Attorney General Jay Nixon). I'll also admit, I was thinking Missouri's large fundamental faction and small Republican lean would help him as well. But, in a recent Survey USA Poll, (and I tell you these guys are good, some of the top notch pollsters in the industry), he lost 57-38, (http://www.surveyusa… 1544). That's some news. We're crushing governors in comebacks that are so sweet in states with Republican leans, (I'm talking about the SUSA polls on Fletcher and Beasher in KY), comebacks in places where most us want to win the most.
However, I think the biggest part of this lead has to do wit the likely Democratic candidate, Jay Nixon, who would truly be an almost perfect candidate. Jay Nixon is the four term incumbent Attorney General, the only person ever to be elected to four consecutive elections. He's won his last three elections with sixty percent or so of the vote. He's had 23 three percnetage point victories each time, defeating his opponents by 550,000-600,000 votes. He's also quite young, having first been elected to the position at age 36, and would be 52 when inaugerated. On an interesting note he won his initial election by defeating then current State House Minority Leader Dan Steelman, husband of current State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, in a narrow race. He's a pretty straightforward, standard Demcorat. He's pro-choice, has labor sympathies, and conversationalist ideas. He's a highly experienced, and qualified candidate who I feel could be a great, highly popular Governor who could help finish pulling the State Democratic party out of a very big rut, (as Dean described it after the 2004 elections, the State party was like a car with four flat tires, and if not for the DNC's generous help to boost it we might not have won the MO-Sen race in 2006).
He's actually been a champion of the environment through his position as AG. and he's worked hard on health care issues, per a non partisan source, Wikipedia.org:
Nixon’s victory in the U.S. Supreme Court in Nixon v. Shrink reinstated Missouri’s campaign contribution limits and cleared the way nationally for campaign finance reform. In two other cases of significance, Nixon’s work in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Health Midwest cases have resulted in the formation of the state’s two largest health care foundations, which will use more than $1.5 billion to help provide health care services to underserved populations of the state. Litigation by Nixon against tobacco companies for illegally marketing cigarettes to young people resulted in the largest settlement in the history of the state.
As Attorney General, Nixon has created the Environmental Protection Division to enforce Missouri’s environmental laws. Attorneys in this division take legal action to stop the pollution of the state’s air, water and soil and to look after Missouri’s agricultural interests. Successful litigation by the division has resulted in the cleanup of polluted sites and millions of dollars awarded to the state. Nixon also has led the fight to protect the state’s interests in the management of the Missouri River as well as to preserve some of the state’s most valuable natural resources, such as Church Mountain and the waterways of the White River basin.
In fact he's been so dedicated to the environment that he has been recognized Conservation Federation of Missouri for his environmental works as a State Senator. This is definitely needed in a state like Missouri, which has some of the worst environmental ratings in the country. It's per-person carbon emissions are among the fastest growing in the country, partly due to the state's dependance on coal for energy, something which it's governors have not addressed. The best things about is taht there's little doubt he will won. He filed the necceassry paperwork almost two years ago, on November 10, 2005, only eight months after Blunt got into office. He's been raising early money and setting up a possible early foundation to jump into the race with a strong start.
This has the beginnings of a great race for Democrats, so lets hope it stays this way. I'm going to keep falling developments in this race very, very closely, and try to keep posting on it, and MO-07, (a hot congressional race where have former Kansas City Mayor runing against conservative four term incubment Sam Graves in a district McCaksill won 50-47), occassionally. Thanks for reading up on it, hope you liked, and I hope it gets some attention, becuase this is going to be one of the two major Gubernatorial races in the upcoming cycle.
P.S. Please vote in the poll. I use it as an indicator of how many people have read this, and I just really like to know that for curiousity's sake.