from the University of Kentucky Rural Blog (see link under title)
If Democrats regain control of the U.S. Senate, part of the reason will be better appeals to rural voters. That paid off for the victor in Missouri, a state with demographics and a voting history that closely reflect those of the nation -- and was a key element of the Democratic campaign in Montana, where challenger Jon Tester led Republican Sen. Conrad Burns by 1,729 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting and at least one recount under way. Democrats could regain the Senate with a Tester victory.
In Missouri, Republican Sen. Jim Talent lost to, Democrat Claire McCaskill, "who narrowly lost a race for governor in 2004 because of weak support in rural areas, traveled in an recreational vehicle through small towns, reminding voters that she was 'a daughter of rural Missouri,' born in Rolla, Mo., and raised, for part of her childhood, near her family’s feed mill," writes Susan Saulny of The New York Times. (Read more)
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch cited McCaskill's rural efforts: "Credit for McCaskill’s victory goes in part to her success in garnering more votes from Republican-rich rural turf. For example, in southwest Missouri’s Greene County, which includes Springfield, she captured more than 40 percent of the vote — a strong performance for a Democrat in such solid Republican country. McCaskill had campaigned for months in rural communities, in an attempt to chip away at the traditional Republican edge that has been dooming many Democratic statewide candidates in recent elections," writes Deirdre Shesgreen.
An election recap from the News-Leader in Springfield ran the headline "McCaskill's rural strategy works in Greene County." Tracy Swartz reports, "After her loss in 2004, McCaskill vowed to spend more time in southwest Missouri. She made dozens of trips to the area, including a last-minute campaign stop Tuesday afternoon at Delaware Elementary School in Springfield." (Read more)
The Missouri race first gained national notoriety when Republican radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, a native of Cape Girardeau, Mo., criticized an ad McCaskill ran last month featuring actor Michael J. Fox, who offered an endorsement because of her pro-stem cell research stance. "The Missouri race also was seen by some as a reflection of the nation’s political leanings. That’s based on Missouri’s unmatched record of voting with the presidential victor in all but one election since 1900," reports Shesgreen. (Read more)
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