McCaskill could split Democrats

The state auditor will run against the incumbent Holden.
Sunday, October 19, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:58 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Claire McCaskill will return to her alma mater — Hickman High School — at 12:30 p.m. Monday to announce her intentions to run against incumbent Bob Holden in a primary race for the democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Winning the nomination and subsequent race would make her Missouri’s first elected female governor.

The current Missouri state auditor will begin her campaign trail in Kansas City where she was elected assistant county prosecutor in 1978. Before being elected to her current position, she served as the 42nd District state representative for three terms, and later became the first woman elected as Jackson County prosecutor.

Holden has faced criticism for Missouri’s dismal financial situation and his veto of the concealed weapons and 24-hour abortion bills that were later overridden by the House and Senate.

With $1.3 million in contributions so far, McKaskill’s campaign trails the $2.3 million raised by Holden, but Glenn Campbell, McCaskill’s campaign manager, said she will close the gap.

“With the governor not raising as much this past quarter and the money she already has in the bank without even being a declared candidate, she is a very financially viable candidate,” Campbell said.

McCaskill has said that Anheuser-Busch, Missouri’s top corporate donor, will support her campaign after pulling funding from Holden’s campaign because of his veto of the concealed weapons bill.

Democrats across the state will be forced to choose between two similar candidates, said Bekki Cook, former Secretary of State.

“Claire is a bright and aggressive woman who walks fast and talks fast,” said Cook, who is running for lieutenant governor. “Holden is not as dynamic but has gained incredible knowledge about what needs to be done to be successful in that office.”

A divide in candidate support could be detrimental to the Democrats’ larger goal of maintaining control of Missouri’s top position – given that Republicans control the House and Senate.

“Her race is ill-advised,” said Sen. Ken Jacob, D-Columbia. “She would make an excellent governor, but Bob Holden has guided this state through difficult times and has the best chance of retaining the position for the Democrats.”

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