Missouri is a bellwether, swing state and the race between Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and former House leader Rep. Roy Blunt is on to replace outgoing Republican Christopher “Kit” Bond. Blunt has used Carnahan’s party affiliation to his advantage this election, an election that was likely to have been close in any season. For her part, Carnahan hopes to demonstrate that Blunt’s leadership in the previously Republican-controlled House leave him ill-suited for the Senate seat.
Candidates for Missouri Senate Seat (four-year term)
Candidate: Robin Carnahan
Political experience: Carnahan became secretary of state for Missouri in 2004.
Professional experience: Carnahan served as the executive editor of the Virginia Journal of International Law at the University of Virginia School of Law. After graduation, she practiced law with the St. Louis law firm Thompson & Mitchell.
Key issues: Carnahan would like to see the next Farm Bill, due to be written in 2012, to be a stable and predictable safety net for farmers. She would boost renewable energy through biofuels and support farms through investments in rural infrastructure.
In addition to biofuels, she’d like to reduce dependence on foreign oil overall by increasing green- and clean-energy industries and jobs through incentives, her website suggests. Cutting pollution will also benefit the state’s health and economy, she contends.
Endorsements: Carnahan is endorsed by the Missouri Chapter of the Sierra Club, EMILY’s List, Human Rights Campaign and Council for a Livable World.
Chances of winning this seat: The Carnahans are a political dynasty, and Robin Carnahan was elected to secretary of state with ease. According to OpenSecrets.org, there’s some degree of daylight between Blunt’s remaining campaign money, currently at $4,002,743 and Carnahan’s, which is closer to $3,640,492. The race is considered a toss-up but leaning a bit toward Blunt.
Candidate: Roy Blunt
Political experience: Blunt is a seven-term Republican representative who served temporarily as House majority leader from Sept. 29, 2005, to Feb. 2, 2006, following House Majority Leader Tom DeLay having to step down. He served as the House Minority Whip until 2008. Like Carnahan, he has been a Missouri secretary of state.
Professional experience: Blunt grew up on a dairy farm. He did student teaching at Skyline High School in Urbana, Mo. He served on the adjunct faculty of Drury University and taught and served as president at Southwest Baptist University and is a published author.
Key issues: Blunt feels that checks and balances are not in place due to the executive and legislative branches both being controlled by the Democrats. A Republican-controlled Senate would offer a check on the president and vice versa. It would prevent unpopular bills such as the stimulus, which he opposes, from passage.
Blunt believes a strong national defense requires that the United States closes ranks with its allies in eastern Europe; he disagreed with the decision to scrap missile defense planned for the region. He is a strong believer that America’s best ally in the Middle East is Israel, and he wants to make sure Israel maintains a security edge in the region, according to his website.
Endorsements: Blunt has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, NRA, Eagle Forum, Missouri Dairy Association, Missouri Farm Bureau and outgoing Sen. Kit Bond.
Chances of winning this seat: Though the race can be considered a toss-up, it remains possible for Carnahan to disappoint Blunt, though he is more favored by conservative and independent voters. Polling from Rasmussen Reports indicates a 10-point difference between the candidates; Blunt would win today 53 percent to 43 percent. However, that lead has narrowed three points since another poll in early September. With roughly seven weeks to go, Blunt must maintain his edge and pull in the remaining undecided voters. He’s slightly disadvantaged only because Carnahan may be a candidate for a major party assist in an effort to steal away a formerly Republican-held seat.
Key Differences between Roy Blunt and Robin Carnahan
Jobs: Blunt feels the stimulus was a failure and that Americans can’t borrow their way out of debt. He wants people to make their own decisions on how to buy, save and how much to borrow — and he doesn’t want government to make that decision for citizens. He would reduce taxes and he wants the president to have a line item veto. Carnahan is against giveaways and bailouts to companies that ship jobs overseas. She would strengthen the financial system and hold Wall Street accountable, see to low taxes for working families and invest and support education, job training and small businesses.
Health care: Both Carnahan and Blunt note that they are cancer survivors. Carnahan wants to cut costs, stop insurance companies from denying coverage, put doctors and patients in charge, strengthen Medicare and provide greater access to the uninsured. Blunt wants to reform the system, but he would prefer that Medicare not be cut for new spending programs. He calls the current reform program government-run care and suggests that patient’s rights to doctors of their choice and treatment as a doctor directs should be enshrined. He’d expand access to small businesses, enhance health information technology, control costs and expand coverage to young Americans.
Education: Blunt is a former teacher, so he has some firms views on education. He thinks that funding and control of classrooms should be state and locally decided. He would encourage policies that emphasize school improvements and make sure federal dollars spent would show results. Carnahan would reform No Child Left Behind and get parents and families more involved in education through the Parents as Teachers program.
2008 results: Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand bested Republican Sandy Treadwell 62.1 percent to 37.9 percent.
Demographics: According to the U.S. Census, 82.1 percent of the state is white, 11.1 percent black, 3.1 percent Hispanic, 1.4 percent Asian, and 0.4 percent American Indian and Alaska Native.