Primary Day in Missouri

Today is primary day in Missouri.  Most of the issues were
local issues, but a few have received national attention: a referendum
on a gay marriage constitutional amendment, the Democratic primary for
governor, and the Democratic primary for the 3rd Congressional
District, Dick Gephardt’s seat.

Amendment 2 reads like this:

Section A. Article 1,
Constitution of Missouri, is amended by adding thereto one new section,
to be known as section 33, to read as follows: Section 33. That to be
valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall exist only between
a man and a woman.

Ironically, this would place a
discriminatory provision excluding a class of people from marriage into
the state’s Bill of Rights.  Missouri already has a law banning
gay marriage, but conservatives concerned about “Activist Judges” want
the prohibition in the constitution to ensure the law is not thrown
out.

This vote is especially important as Missouri is the first of about
ten states to vote on such an Amendment this year, and the first such
amendment on the ballot for voters since Massachusetts legalized gay
marriages last year.  Many organizations, such as the Human Rights Campaign
view this vote as an important indicator for how such votes will go
across the country.  Opponents of the Amendment have had a
financial advantage, but proponents have had the grassroots advantage
of churches.  Analysis
of the referendum and polls suggests that it will pass.  I really
hope for an upset.

The Democratic primary for Governor is interesting
because the incumbent, Bob Holden, is facing a strong challenge from
the State Auditor, Claire McCaskill, the first primary challenge a
Missouri gubernatorial incumbent has faced in 24 years.  Holden is
seen as weak in the November general election, probably against
Secretary of State Matt Blunt, and the electoral weakness is driving
much of McCaskill’s strength.  While the state’s leading Democrats
support Holden, all of the major newspapers in the state have endorsed
McCaskill.  Polls predict a very close vote.

The primary vote to
replace Dick Gephardt in the 3rd District.  There are two
Republicans and one Libertarian running, but the action is mostly on
the Democratic primary for this traditionally Democratic
District.  Nine candidates are running, including Russ Carnahan,
the son of former Governor Mel Carnahan (the guy who beat John Ashcroft
in a Senate election despite being dead) and former Senator Jean
Carnahan (who filled her husband’s seat).  Carnahan is seen as
having an advantage due to name recognition and his experience in the
state legislator.  Other candidates include a very conservative
Mariano Favazza, two guys named Smith who both work at Washington
University, the pro-life nurse Joan Barry, and some minor
candidates.

The primary has been ugly.  There have been
anonymous negative postcards sent out, anonymous negative push-polling,
and accusations flying everywhere. 

I will be very happy when this
day is over, because we’ve received more phone calls, mailings, and TV
ads than we normally receive for a November election.  Maybe
they’ll let the phones be silent and the trees live for a couple months
now.

However, if you’re in Missouri, get out there and vote today,
especially against Amendment 2.

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About Lance Finney

Father of two boys, Java developer, Ethical Humanist, and world traveler (when I can sneak it in). Contributor to Grounded Parents.
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