Friday, April 04, 2008

Cook: Missouri Is Most Vulnerable Republican Held Open Seat Among Governors

But Has A Head Start
Political analyst Charlie Cook calls Missouri's race for Governor, the most "vulnerable Republican held open seat" in the country.

In his April report, Cook writes that neither Republican candidate has had "especially smooth sailing in the race."

"Hulshof has had to deal with questions about whether public officials should hold stock or other interests in the biofuels industry since he is a small investor in a Missouri biodiesel production plant," Cook said. "Steelman came under criticism about the accuracy of data she used when testifying before the state legislature about the costs to the state of illegal immigration," he added.

Cook said the conventional wisdom is that Hulshof should win the Republican nomination based on the institutional support he has.

On presumptive Democratic nominee Jay Nixon, Cook writes, "It is true that he can come across as bristly and arrogant at times." He added, "but one thing that is certain is that Nixon has a real head start in this race."

Cook believes Nixon holds the upper hand for now, but still categorizes the race as a "Toss Up."

"There is no question that Nixon begins the second phase of this race with some real advantages. Still, he faces a different landscape than the one he intended to run on. That, combined with the history of close statewide races in Missouri, leaves us inclined to keep this race in Toss Up until more polling becomes available and until Hulshof and Steelman have a chance to prove themselves," Cook said.

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