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August 21, 2008

Dems Have Pickup Chance In Big MO

As Republican Rep. Kenny Hulshof runs for governor, his northeastern Missouri Congressional District could give Democrats an opportunity to steal another seat. After competitive primaries on both sides, a poll conducted for Democratic nominee Judy Baker shows her leading by a narrow margin.

The poll, conducted by Momentum Analysis for Baker's campaign, surveyed 400 likely voters between 8/12-14 for a margin of error of +/- 4.9%. Baker, a state representative, and former state tourism director Blaine Luetkemeyer, the Republican nominee, were tested.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP)
Baker.................41 / 78 / 14
Luetkemeyer......39 / 12 / 66

Luetkemeyer's bitter primary, in which the Club for Growth spent considerable resources on his opponent's behalf, appears to have opened rifts that have yet to heal. The Democratic primary was less heated, though Baker beat out a number of well-known Democrats, including former House Speaker Steve Gaw.

Democrats are optimistic about their chances in the Ninth District, but it is expected to vote heavily for John McCain, giving Luetkemeyer a leg up. President Bush won the district by eighteen points in 2004, and Hulshof never had trouble carrying the seat.

Still, Hulshof's run for governor could turn out to be an impetus for ticket-splitting that might benefit Democrats; most public polls have showed Attorney General Jay Nixon easily leading Hulshof, who had his own bitter primary to deal with. If Hulshof's lead in his own district, which should be his best political base, is diminished by a Nixon rout, Democrat Baker could benefit.