Much will be weighing on the minds of Missouri Democrats as they meet in Boston for the national convention. While delegates look forward to helping John Kerry’s presidential bid, they have pressing matters pending at home. The delegates will wrestle with the challenge State Auditor Claire McCaskill has launched in her bid to unseat Governor Bob Holden in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Party officials have been open about their unhappiness that McCaskill is challenging Holden, fearing that it will weaken the party and lead to losing the governorship in November. Other statewide offices feature contested primary elections that have split the party. Some Missouri delegates, undoubtedly, are unhappy that Kerry chose North Carolina Senator John Edwards over St. Louis Congressman Richard Gephardt as his runningmate. Many, especially union members, wanted Gephardt on the ticket. One of the underlying stories of the convention will be what role, if any, Kerry sees Gephardt playing in his administration, should he win. Democrats will focus as well on the Senate race, which has had to take a back seat for now. Treasurer Nancy Farmer will no doubt be trying to impress national leaders and convince them that she has the stuff to unseat three-term Republican Senator Christopher Bond. Farmer needs much more money than she has on hand to mount a strong campaign against Bond and her discussion with national party leaders will go a long way toward deciding whether she gets the needed cash. Not all will be serious, though, and not all will be political. Many Missouri delegates head to Boston for the excitement of seeing the city, visiting the tourist sites and soaking in the realization they are part of the great political experiment that defines this country.
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