It’s only March, but Missouri Democrats and Republicans are gearing up for what’s expected to be a rough and tumble election campaign, from the top of the ticket on down. Both Republicans and Democrats are expressing optimism. Ann Wagner, the Chair of the State Republican Party and Co-Chair of the Republican National Committee, says Missouri has been slowly moving away from the Democratic Party. It’s captured both chambers of the Missouri Legislature and won the U.S. Senate seat in 2002 with Jim Talent’s victory over incumbent Senator Jean Carnahan. But Jim Kottmeyer, the Executive Director of the State Democratic Party, says the Democrats are ready to take back the White House, the State Legislature – and hold onto the Governor’s Office. Wagner says Missourians who get to know likely Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry will reject what she calls his liberal, elitist record in the U.S. Senate. Kottmeyer says Missourians will reject President Bush’s handling of such issues as the economy and health care.