Claire McCaskill to Challenge Jim Talent in Missouri

AP News reports that Missouri Democratic state auditor Claire McCaskill plans to challenge Republican Sen. Jim Talent.

McCaskill has been state auditor since 1999 and faced re-election next year. She ran unsuccessfully for governor last year against Republican Matt Blunt, losing by about 3 percentage points, after knocking out incumbent Democratic Gov. Bob Holden to reach the November election.

Some Democrats have been encouraging McCaskill to run, seeing her as the party’s best hope to unseat an incumbent with a major financial advantage.

From the DSCC: Biography of Claire McCaskill

10 Step Roadmap for Taking Back the Senate

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4 Responses to Claire McCaskill to Challenge Jim Talent in Missouri

  1. kj says:

    This is very, very, VERY good news. :-) Claire is a powerhouse. Very bright woman. Could there be hope for the heartland? ;-)

    However, not to diminish the challenge. Talent has friends in very high places. He was groomed for this seat. Knocking him out (although he only beat Jean Carnahan by less than 1,000 votes in 2002,) will take some work.

  2. kj says:

    Nick, where are you? Missouri needs your number crunching ability! :-)

  3. Nick says:

    Here we go, it’s number crunching time:

    First and foremost: Bush’s approval rating. In Nov. 2002, Bush had an approval rating of over 60% nationally, while I don’t have his Missouri numbers for then, they couldn’t have been all that low if he was campaigning for Talent right up to election day 2002. Today-in Missouri- Bush has an approval rating of 38%, while 58% disapprove. In contrast, Bush had an approval rating of over 50% in Nov. 2004 and beat Kerry in Mo. 53%-46%.
    Talent then and now.
    In 2002, Talent got 50% (934,093) to 49% (911,507) Carnahan. According to an April DSCC poll, Talent was tied with McCaskill at 43% each and the percent who thought Talent should be re-elected was a whopping 36%!!!! Let’s hope those latter numbers don’t go up.
    Abortion
    According to a Fox News exit poll in Mo. Nov. 2002, 17% thought abortion was their biggest voting issue, only the economy got a greater % saying it was a bigger issue (23%). Of the 17% who said abortion was the biggest issue, 80% voted for Talent, only 19% voted for pro-choice Carnahan. What’s McCaskill’s view on abortion? Is there anyway McCaskill can get around this?
    2004 governor
    1,380,200 for Blunt (51%) to 1,296,362 for McC (48%) which means that 2% of Bush’s voters (he won the state with 53%) voted for her. If polls are any indication, there are a lot fewer Bush voters now than in Nov. 2004. Can she cross over? Sure Talent will win the total rural vote in Mo., but by how much?
    TURNOUT
    Kerry won the three most populous areas of Missoura: (St. Louis City, the county of St. Louis, and Jackson County. He beat Bush 80.4%-19.6% in City of St. Louis). He also won in metro KC.
    Similarly, Carnahan won the urban counties in Missouri in 2002 (Census says if you have 10,000 or more in a county, you ain’t rural).
    Unfortunately, Kerry lost the rural vote in Missoura big time, (all of a suddenly I can’t find the figures, but I will). I’ll say this for rural Missoura voters: they turnout.
    In 2002, Carnahan won the urban counties, but their turnout rate was only 47%. In rural counties 2002, the total turnout rate was 51%!!!. Talent, who always said his margins in rural Missouri would make or break him, beat Jean Carnahan 57%-42% in rural Missouri. Bottom line: even if McC can do better in rural areas, we must assume the GOP turnout machine in rural areas will be up and running. No big Dem turnout in suburban and urban Missouri= welcome back to Washington Senator Talent!! AHHHHHH.
    Oh yeah, national dems, if somebody dies in a plane crash just before the election, don’t turn the funeral into a rally. I’ve heard anedotally that the Wellstone funeral debacle got a lot of press in Mo. in 2002 (because of Mel Carnahan in 2000) and folks who felt renewed sympathy for Jean Carnahan after Wellstone death felt disgust toward Dems after the funeral/rally. It’s quite possible that the funeral turned ugly cost Dems Senate seats in Minnesota AND Missouri in 2002. Had Dems won those seats, they still would’ve controlled the Senate after the 2002 elections.