Missouri AG 'widely expected' to win gubernatorial race

Chris Rizo Oct. 14, 2008, 2:10pm

Jay Nixon (D)

Kenny Hulshof (R)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline)-Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon is widely expected to be elected the Show Me State's next governor, a leading political analyst told Legal Newsline.

Given the combination of Nixon's name recognition, his campaign resources and his Republican opponent's late start in the race, the attorney general is a near shoe in for governor, University of Missouri political scientist Peverill Squire said Tuesday.

"Attorney General Nixon has been in the lead all along, he's enjoyed a financial advantage and a Republican Party that took a while to get behind its candidate," Squire said.

In the gubernatorial race, Nixon leads Republican six-term Congressman Kenny Hulshof by 22 points, a recent poll indicates.

The SurveyUSA poll shows that Nixon leads Hulshof 56 percent to 34 percent. The firm's poll three weeks ago indicated Nixon, the four-term attorney general, had a 17 point lead.

Nixon and Hulshof are vying to succeed Republican Gov. Matt Blunt, who is not seeking a second term.

While Hulshof is a "pretty reasonable candidate," he isn't "sufficiently dynamic" to generate enough attention on a crowded election calendar, Squire said.

"Given the national mood favoring the Democrats, it's hard to see how the Republicans are going to change the dynamics of the race," Squire told LNL.

He added that the tight presidential race in the state between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain gives some hope to the Hulshof's campaign since the state tends to lean Republican.

"Both parties are going to be working hard to get out their voters, but all of the surveys have been pretty consistent from the beginning with Nixon holding a reasonably comfortable lead," Squire said. "It's hard to believe that even if the Republicans are able to get out their supporters that the Democrats won't do likewise."

He added, "At this point, it's widely expected that Nixon will win."

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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