A smart Republican operative recently told me that no matter how bad things get for the statewide G.O.P. candidates this cycle, Missouri history shows that at least one will overperform and buck the trend. The elimination of straight-ticket voting in Missouri may also benefit Republicans in a year where Democrats are foaming at the mouth to vote. Out of pure skepticism and instinct, the independents that make Missouri interesting won't vote for EVERY Democrat down the line. So, someone is expected to break through.
We were wondering which Republican is most likely to overperform in a year that trends Democratic . . . Here are our nominees for G.O.P. overachiever (in order of mostly likely to overperform.)
1. Candidate for Treasurer Brad Lager -- He's raised lots of dough, the Treasurer position seems harmless enough and Zweifel (like Hulshof) is a really weird name for people to swallow.
2. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder -- Kinder works really hard and is running like he's behind (whether he is or isn't), he has cross-over appeal with some urban Democrats, and many Southwest Missourians do not know who Sam Page is.
3. Candidate for Attorney General Mike Gibbons -- Gibbons is respected and viewed as competent (though not exciting) by the other side, Chris Koster may still have a lingering bitter-Democrat problem and his ex-wife likes to make news.