McCaskill plans to challenge incumbent for U.S. Senate

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:14 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 6, 2008

HOUSTON, Mo. — Democratic state auditor Claire McCaskill put the rumors to rest Tuesday, officially announcing that she plans to challenge Sen. Jim Talent next year.

McCaskill has been state auditor since 1999 and would face re-election next year. She ran unsuccessfully for governor last year against Republican Matt Blunt, losing by about 3 percentage points after knocking out incumbent Democratic Gov. Bob Holden to reach the November election.

Some Democrats have been encouraging McCaskill to run, seeing her as the party’s best hope to unseat an incumbent with a major financial advantage.

In July, Talent reported raising nearly $2.6 million in the previous three months, giving him a large financial lead over a Democratic challenger.

Talent’s report showed he raised a total of $3.9 million in the first half of the year and had $3.4 million on hand for a re-election campaign.

McCaskill made the announcement in the tiny town of Houston, at a feed mill where her father once worked.

However, McCaskill’s battle to win over rural voters might be uphill. In the 2004 governor’s race, Blunt won sparsely populated Texas County, which includes Houston, with 60 percent of the vote against McCaskill’s 38 percent.

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