Governor Holden and challenger Claire McCaskill broke some new ground in the second of their back-to-back debates, but also returned to themes and accusations expressed in the first. The top Democrats vying for their party’s nomination in the August 3rd primary election met Monday night in Kansas City’s Union Station and Tuesday evening in the studios of St. Louis television station KETC. Both debates lasted one hour and featured questions from a panel of reporters as well as opportunities to directly question each other. McCaskill used that opportunity in St. Louis to ask Holden if his campaign was going to attack her husband, St. Louis businessman Joseph Shepard. Holden wouldn’t address the question directly, claiming to have never run a negative campaign and vowing to focus on the issues. Holden repeated charges that McCaskill softened her opposition to allowing Missourians to carry concealed weapons in order to obtain a campaign contribution from Anheuser Busch. McCaskill flatly rejected the charge, saying that the issue never came up when she met with executives of the St. Louis brewer. Holden countered McCaskill’s criticism of his inability to work with Republican legislative leaders by saying they had accomplished some bi-partisan victories the past couple of years. McCaskill scoffed at the claim, saying everyone knows the two sides could not work together the last couple of legislative sessions. Both candidates stood by their abortion-rights convictions, expressing dismay that St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke has pronounced that Catholics who vote for pro-choice candidates are committing a grave sin. McCaskill said she offers Democrats the best chance to beat Republican Matt Blunt in November. Holden said he has been the won fighting for core Democrat values the past four years. [Photos by UPI]

Governor Bob Holden State Auditor Claire McCaskill