Democrats & Liberals Archives

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.

Posted by LawnBoy at August 3, 2004 10:44 AM