Both top Democrats in the race for governor complained the other has distorted their record and argued over who could effectively lead the state during the first of two back-to-back debates. Governor Holden met face-to-face with Claire McCaskill at Union Station in Kansas City Monday evening. Tonight, the two debate again in the studios of KETC, the public television station in St. Louis. When McCaskill criticized Holden for withholding state education funding until after local school districts asked voters to increase property taxes, Holden countered that when he fought Republican legislative leaders during budget battles at the Capitol McCaskill was absent. Holden complained that McCaskill spread misinformation about his commitment to education. McCaskill countered she didn’t question his commitment, but his effectiveness. McCaskill complained that advertisements from the Holden campaign misrepresented her stance on concealed weapons, which she said is the same as Holden. Holden responded that her complaint should be aimed at the news media, which questioned whether she had softened her opposition to conceal and carry after receiving campaign contributions. The two candidates field a wide range of questions from a panel of Kansas City reporters. They also got to ask each other questions directly. McCaskill accused Holden of not doing enough to end outsourcing of certain state jobs. Holden said he had taken action to end the practice. Holden defended his record as governor against criticism from McCaskill that his failures led to devastating defeat for Democrats in the 2002 elections.
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