A discussion in the Missouri House on placing money from the national tobacco settlement into a trust fund boils over into a rancorous debate about which US Senatorial candidate might benefit from the issue. Republicans want the issue of how to spend the billions coming to the state on the August ballot, arguing placing it on the November ballot injects it into the high-profile Senate race pitting incumbent Republican John Ashcroft against his challenger, Governor Mel Carnahan, a Democrat. Republicans also argue the November ballot is too crowded with multiple candidates and issues, obscuring the tobacco settlement. It’s an argument Democrat Gracia Backer of New Bloomfield doesn’t buy. She says Republicans worry the issue might bring more voters favorable to Democrats to the polls.
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