5 THINGS WE LEARNED THIS WEEK
1. The Republican primary race for Governor is bound to turn negative, and possibly even nasty in the coming weeks.
2. The polling on the race is mixed, messy and fluid enough that neither campaign can truly be sure where it stands.
3. Just when we thought there was a nail in the coffin of the stem cell controversy, those microscopic balls of cells managed to rear their heads again.
4. Each campaign will take extra care while reviewing and filing its next (and final) campaign finance report before the primary.
5. Next weekend's state Republican convention in Branson will be fascinating for reasons well beyond Ron Paul.
5 FACTORS THAT WILL SHAPE THE RACE AHEAD
1. Which candidate decides to air a negative or "attack" television ad first.
2. The ability of each campaign to cultivate and distribute eye-popping opposition research to reporters that's timed for maximum impact.
3. How much "off-the-record" conversations from the campaigns, their fundraisers and quiet supporters will shape what the political pack writes, blogs and puts on television.
4. Right to Life's endorsement of a candidate, and the perception that their pick means he/or she is more "pro-life" than their opponent.
5. The way each candidate responds to the inevitable attacks, unfair misrepresentations and tough but legitimate questions.
4 PEOPLE WHO COULD SAY SOMETHING PUBLICLY THAT COULD ALTER THE RACE (positively or negatively for either candidate)
1. Jim Stowers, if he says he talked to Sarah Steelman about stem cells
2. Rod Jetton, if a role in Kenny Hulshof's campaign becomes apparent
3. Jay Nixon, if he begins to turn his fire disproportionately at one candidate or the other
4. Matt Blunt, if he's moved/urged/nudged to endorse