Democrat Jay Nixon now knows his opponent in the general election, but it appears Nixon has always known his strategy: run against the man not in the race.
Northeast Missouri Congressman Kenny Hulshof’s name might be on the ballot in November, but Nixon is clearly running against incumbent Republican Governor Matt Blunt. Nixon ties Hulshof’s campaign directly to the Blunt Administration.
"It’s really not surprising to us that Congressman Hulshof has embraced Blunt’s massive health care cuts and is praising his economy," Nixon tells reporters during a conference call, "From day one, he’s clearly been the Blunt Administration’s choice for governor."
Nixon has been a constant critic of Blunt for the four years he’s been governor. But Blunt decided against running for re-election. Hulshof, during his victory speech, challenged Nixon to campaign on ideas not fight against ghosts or straw men who aren’t in the race.
That seems to have struck a nerve.
"This campaign is going to be about real people. You bet it is." Nixon emphasizes, "And those real people are people in Missouri who are suffering because of the policies of George Bush and Matt Blunt that Kenny Hulshof has been a big part of establishing in Washington, D.C. As soon as he came back to run for governor, he adopted the policies locally."
Hulshof defeated State Treasurer Sarah Steelman in the Republican primary 49% to 45%.