Missourians, as you may have heard from pundits, have the unique ability to refer to their home as a “microcosm” of American Politicsâ€”at least in presidential races. For over the past century, Missouri voters have sided correctly with every presidential contest victor, save one: Adlai Stevenson in 1956. The balanced yet uncertain political atmosphere makes it a target for campaign stops, television ads, and massive infusions of campaign money and the hoopla this year has kept the battle over one of Missouri’s Senate seats largely under the radar of many outside of the Show-Me State. In this most unusual of election cycles now in its final weeks, it is becoming increasingly unclear whether Missouri will remain a predictor of presidentsâ€”and what effect the race for the White House will have on this Senate race.
Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond was first elected to the Senate in 1986 in a narrow contest many say hinged mostly on a negative campaign ad run by his opponent. Regarded as one of the GOP’s moderate senators, Bond has championed many populace causes; particularly urban redevelopmentâ€”such strong support for urban organizations and small businesses that aid inner-city economies earned him the Democratic mayor of Kansas City’s refusal to endorse his Democratic opponent in his last election. He has been a strong supporter of home state initiatives including St. Louis’s aerospace industry, the Missouri River, and the state transportation infrastructure. Both fiscal conservatives and environmental liberals have bemoaned his initiatives, suggesting strongly that his political philosophy is akin to the leanings of moderate Missouri.
Bond’s favorable standing with undecided and some Democratic voters will make it difficult for his opponentâ€”Missouri treasurer Nancy Farmerâ€”to mount a successful opposition to Bond’s momentum. Democrats initially believed in the competitiveness of this race based largely upon the fact that Bond has not been elected to the Senate with more than 53 percent of the vote. However, the vulnerability of Bond, as was perceived by the Farmer camp, is not as great as many would have hoped: currently, polls show Bond 15 points ahead of Farmer, 53 percent to 38 percent (Research 2000 poll, 9/14-16/04). Bond’s limited margins of victory in previous elections were due largely to difficult campaigns and other nuances, and combined with the fact that he has many friends in the Democratic ranks, it is unlikely that Farmer will be able defeat Bond without a considerable amount of help.
As it stands, Bush appears poised to take Missouri, and Bond remains in a good spot in both the polls and in solidifying his base of support. Should Bush win Missouri but loose the election, Farmer would not likely see a substantial bump in her support, much less the 15 points needed to close the current gap with Bond. It is all but certain now appears that Christopher Bond will win reelection.