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AP Top Missouri News at 2:59 a.m. CDT

The Associated Press

Mo. Senate deadlock keeps primary that won't count

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Missouri appeared set Monday to hold a presidential primary in February, even though it likely won't count.

The state Senate deadlocked 16-16 over an attempt to cancel the primary after state Republicans decided they'd use a caucus process starting in March rather than the primary to choose delegates for next summer's national convention in Tampa.

While advocates for the primary said eliminating it would disenfranchise voters, some lawmakers argued it made little sense to spend millions of dollars on what would essentially be a meaningless election considering the GOP's move and the expectation that President Barack Obama would cruise to the Democratic nomination.

"I do not want to waste $8 million in taxpayer money in a very difficult time in the state's history in a beauty contest," said Senate Majority Leader Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles.

Missouri's presidential primary has generated controversy this fall because it is about a month earlier than what now is allowed under guidelines set by the national Republican and Democratic parties.

To avoid disrupting the presidential selection schedule and a penalty of losing half its delegates at the national convention, the Missouri Republican Party opted to hold county caucuses on March 17. Delegates, who are not required to signal allegiance to a presidential candidate, will be selected there to attend congressional district conventions on April 21 and the state convention June 2.

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Lawyer: Mom of missing baby has 'nothing to hide'

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The mother of a missing Missouri baby may not be casting herself in the best light by telling national media that she drank heavily the night her daughter disappeared and other unflattering details, but her honesty shows that she and her family "have nothing to hide," her attorney said.

Deborah Bradley told television audiences Monday that she may have blacked out in the hours before she and Jeremy Irwin reported that their 10-month-old daughter, Lisa Irwin, was missing from their Kansas City home early Oct. 4. Bradley also now says she last saw her daughter hours earlier than she originally told police.

"I don't recall in recent history anyone under this umbrella of suspicion be so open and forthright, warts and all, regarding the events. Because they have nothing to hide," said attorney Joe Tacopina, who held a press conference Monday to announce he had been hired to represent the couple.

The parents reported their daughter missing after Irwin returned home from working a night shift and found the front door unlocked, the house lights on, a window tampered with and the baby gone. Bradley and their two sons were asleep elsewhere in the house.

Police have said they have no suspects in the case and no major leads. On Monday, the parents allowed the FBI to bring tracking dogs through their home. The FBI also searched a neighbor's house with the dogs, as well as the yard of the home where Bradley and Irwin have been staying with their two sons.

Bradley had said in previous days that she checked on Lisa at 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 3, but on Monday told NBC's "Today" show that she actually last saw Lisa when she put her to bed at 6:40 p.m. She did not explain the time changes.

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Mo. Senate opts not to negotiate on business bill

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The already slim chance of passing a business incentive bill edged closer to none Monday as the Missouri Senate opted against seeking any further negotiations with the House during a special legislative session.

Lawmakers were called into special session in early September to consider legislation creating new incentives for international exports at the St. Louis airport, computer data centers, amateur sports events and businesses that might otherwise be lured to leave Missouri for other states. To pay for the new incentives, the plan also called for many of Missouri's existing tax credits to be scaled back or eliminated.

But the House and Senate have passed dramatically different versions of the bill and now are at a stalemate.

Last week, Republicans who hold an overwhelming Senate majority met privately and decided to ask the Republican-led House for a formal conference committee to try to work out their difference. They were to officially make that request Monday. But instead, the Senate reversed course and sent the House a message asking representatives to back off their position and simply pass the Senate version _ something that is unlikely to occur.

Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer said it would have been "fruitless" and "meaningless" to confer further with the House, because both chambers are firmly entrenched.

"The differences between the House and Senate on the economic development, tax-credit reform bill are irreconcilable," said Mayer, R-Dexter. "They cannot be resolved over the little bit of time that still remains in this special session."

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St. Louis celebrates another NL pennant

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Among all major league teams, only the New York Yankees have had more success than the Cardinals. But in baseball-mad St. Louis, celebrating a pennant never gets old.

Red-clad fans on Monday were reveling in another National League championship, a day after the Cardinals beat the Brewers 12-6. It was another milestone for the National League's most successful team.

The Cardinals have won three pennants since 2004 (the 2006 team won the World Series). The Cardinals, Dodgers and Giants have all won 18 pennants, but no National League team has more World Series titles than the Cardinals' 10.

They'll try to get their 11th starting Wednesday at Busch Stadium against the Texas Rangers.

St. Louis was clearly in the red Monday. Businessmen wore red ties or Cardinals jackets. The fountain at Kiener Plaza spewed red water. A few downtown buildings hung banners that read "Go Cardinals."

The World Series figures to foster civic pride, but it's an economic boost, too.

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Mo. Gov. Nixon triples fundraising of Kinder

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has built up a considerable cash advantage for a 2012 re-election campaign, more than tripling the amount of money raised in the past three months by his potential challenger, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.

Finance figures released Monday show Nixon received about $1.5 million in cash and in-kind contributions during the past quarter, easily outdistancing the $455,522 in cash and in-kind contributions reported by Kinder. As of Sept. 30, the Democratic governor had more than $4.2 million in his campaign account. Kinder, a Republican, had a little less than $1.6 million in his account.

The past fundraising quarter was a pivotal one for Kinder, who delayed an official announcement of his candidacy after August media reports that he had frequented an Illinois strip club when he was a state senator in the mid-1990s. Kinder said in late August that he wanted to reassess his support before officially entering the race.

Kinder raised just half the amount of money in the third quarter of 2011 as he had the previous quarter. And his $516,592 of expenditures during the third quarter exceeded what he raised, with much of the costs attributed to polling and political research.

Yet Kinder may have raised enough to reassure his inclination to run. About two-thirds of his cash came in during September, after widespread media coverage about his strip club visits.

"The campaign's robust fundraising in the month of September is the news Peter Kinder's campaign needed, and because of that news, he's ready to make a formal announcement next month" about the gubernatorial race, said Kinder campaign adviser Rich Chrismer. He did not have a specific date for that announcement.

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Mo. Senate deadlocks over eliminating primary

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ An attempt to cancel Missouri's 2012 presidential primary has been defeated in the Senate.

The chamber deadlocked Monday with a 16-16 vote on legislation scrapping the primary election next year.

Missouri Republicans have decided to choose their delegates to next year's national nominating convention with a caucus system that begins in March. But the primary scheduled for February remains in state law.

Proponents of canceling the primary argued it makes no sense to spend several million dollars for an election that's been rendered meaningless by the GOP's decision.

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3 SW Missouri teens killed in weekend crash

BOLIVAR, Mo. (AP) _ Authorities have identified 3 teenage girls killed in the weekend crash of a pickup truck in southwestern Missouri, but investigators say they still don't know which of the three was driving.

The accident happened around 10:30 p.m. Saturday on a Polk County road about a mile east of Bolivar (BAH'-luh-var). The Highway Patrol says the pickup truck went through a fence and overturned, hitting a building before catching fire.

The patrol identified the girls Monday as Daniella Ayala and Alexis Bootier, both 15, and Gabriella Ayala, who was 13. All three girls were from Bolivar.