The last Democratic presidential candidate who won Missouri was named Clinton. That'd be Bill Clinton, in 1996.
On Sunday, both the New York Times and Washington Post explored the 2008 electoral map, looking at Barack Obama's potential paths to 270 electoral votes.
Will Obama's path to 270 include Missouri? Does it have to?
The Times piece leads with the premise that Team Obama will make every attempt to broaden the math by challenging John McCain in Republican leaning states. According to the story, "Mr. Obama's aides said some states where they intend to campaign -- like Georgia, Missouri, Montana and North Carolina -- might ultimately be too red to turn blue."
"But the result of making an effort there could force Mr. McCain to spend money or send him to campaign in what should be safe ground, rather than using those resources in states like Ohio," went on the story.
Also in the article, Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe argued said his candidate doesn't need to win any of those states to attain 270 -- but that he has reason to believe Obama can be competitive there.
In the Washington Post, Dan Balz notes the 13 states that were decided by seven or fewer percentage points in 2004. Missouri was not one of them. Balz also notes that Obama has showed strength in 3 Midwest states -- Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. "He also carried Missouri narrowly and will compete harder there than Kerry did," writes Balz.
In this regard, the most significant advantage Obama has over McCain is money. Because of his financial leg-up, Obama will be able to test-market himself in states that he may not have to win -- but can try. McCain may flirt with some blue states, but if money gets tight and Obama is gaining ground on his turf, he'll have to reassess and protect his home base.