Missouri’s junior Senator delivers his farewell speech from the floor of the U.S. Senate. And, unlike many goodbye speeches which are laden with talk of memories and accomplishments, Senator Jim Talent spoke of the need for the United States to maintain a strong military. Talent did thank family, friends, colleagues, and staff members. But, he focused primarily on a the need for the U.S. to commit to spending tens of billions of dollars over current levels to ensure the military is able to modernize its forces to the degree necessary to preserve our security with the necessary margin of safety. Talent says needs a bigger military is needed because there are times when America needs to put large numbers of boots on the ground to sustain large scale peacekeeping or low intensity combat operations. Talent officially leaves the Senate on January 4th when Claire McCaskill is sworn in as Missouri’s junior Senator.
Election Day saw ten freshmen sent to the U.S. Senate. Nine of them have been on Capitol Hill this week, learning the ins and outs and voting for leadership positions in their respective parties. Senator-elect Claire McCaskill isn’t in the Nation’s Capitol. Spokesman Adrianne Marsh says McCaskill was given a pass on orientation so she could vacation with her family after what Marsh calls a particularly hard campaign. Marsh adds McCaskill cleared her plans with Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid. McCaskill’s votes were made by proxy, as were her requests for committee assignments. McCaskill has asked for seats on two top committees: Government Reform and Armed Services. She should find out in the next week or so whether she is successful in her quest. Outgoing Senator Jim Talent currently holds a seat on the Armed Services Committee.
Democrat Claire McCaskill wins the United States Senate race over Republican incumbent Jim Talent by not losing as badly to him in Republican strongholds as she did to Matt Blunt in the governor’s race two years ago. Senator-elect McCaskill says the math is simple. She trimmed Jim Talent’s margins in traditional Republican regions, something she was unable to do in her race for governor against Matt Blunt in 2004. McCaskill says the campaign did much, much better in Springfield, Greene County and St. Charles County than it did two years ago. She says that combined with the enthusiasm for the campaign in Kansas City and St. Louis gave her the votes needed to win. McCaskill says the national spotlight on the campaign helped as well. McCaskill says the national attention made Missourians realize the importance of the election. McCaskill has put together an incredible political story. She took on and defeated an incumbent governor in her party’s primary, ultimately failing to win the office. But, she then returned to take on an incumbent Senator and win. McCaskill acknowledges it has been a tough four years of campaigning. And McCaskill chuckles when she says the constant campaigning has left her very, very tired.
Missouri Democrats have regained the United States Senate seat they lost four years ago and, in the process, get the national party closer to the true prize they sought: control of the Senate in Washington. Control of the U. S. Senate remains uncertain with extremely close races in Virginia and Montana to be decided. But McCaskill road a Democratic wave to victory as Republicans lost key race after key race on Tuesday. Declaring, “The great state of Missouri has spoken,” McCaskill addressed an enthusiastic crowd that packed into the Renaissance Grand Hotel in downtown St. Louis.
Democrats remained cautiously optimistic throughout the night, even though McCaskill trailed badly to incumbent Republican Jim Talent in the early going. They noted that she didn’t give as much ground in traditionally Republican areas of the state as she did two years ago in her unsuccessful race against Matt Blunt for governor.
McCaskill shored up enough support in rural Missouri to offset that weakness and allow her strength in Kansas City and St. Louis to lead her to a narrow victory; 49.5% to 47.4% with most precincts reporting.
The prominence the race took on nationally wasn’t lost on McCaskill who addressed that in her victory speech, saying “The nation was watching and we showed them.” The McCaskill victory delighted Democrats who have been searching for something to celebrate for some time. Missouri Democrats used to control politics in the state, but have seen steady erosion of that control over the years, culminating in the loss of the Senate seat, then the Missouri Senate, the governor’s office and finally the Missouri House of Representatives.
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Secretary of State Election Results
The long campaign for reelection to the U.S Senate comes to an end for Senator Jim Talent as he becomes another Republican casualty of what was a very successful Election Day for Democrats across the country. In his concession speech, Talent said he congratulated the Senator-elect, Claire McCaskill, and he thanked all those who worked hard on his campaign. Talent went on to thank God for all that has happened in his life. He told supporters he had made up his mind he was going to thank God, regardless of what happened on Election Day. Talent says he is happy to have served in Congress and in the Senate, and cherishes the freiendships he has made in public life.
All across the country, Americans are going to the polls, with Republicans and Democrats fighting hard to control the House and Senate in Washington. One of the most closely watched races is right here in Missouri, where Democrat Claire McCaskill is trying to win the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Jim Talent. Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe says Democrats need to win races in six states today to take control of the Senate, and the task cannot be completed without a McCaskill win. He predicts McCaskill will win in Missouri, with the Democrats winning both the House and the Senate in Washington. Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman agrees there’s great importance attached to the Missouri contest, a contest he sees as a contrast between Talent and McCaskill. Mehlman says Talent has initiatiated or supported legislation that is important to Missouri and will continue to work hard for this state if he’s returned to the Senate. Mehlaman expects Talent to come out on top in Missouri, with the GOP holding control of both houses of Congress.
One of them wants to keep a job paying $162,500 a year. The other wants that job. And between them, Jim Talent and Claire McCaskill will wind up spending $40-Million. Federal election reports says McCaskill and Talent lead the nation in campaign spending by independent groups – groups that are not coordinated by the candidates who benefit from the support of those groups. McCaskill has gotten $11.2-Million worth of independent support; Talent $10.3-Million. The last time the candidates’ own campaigns filed spending reports, Talent had raised $11-Million and McCaskill had raised $8.4-Million. The most expensive race for the U.S. Senate up to now has been the 2002 race between Talent and Jean Carnahan, when expenditures totaled $20.4-Million. Mel Carnahan and John Ashcroft spent $18.2-Million in 2000.
A candidate on the ballot tomorrow says he offers an alternative for voters who’ve had enough of both Republican Jim Talent and Democrat Claire McCaskill. Libertarian Frank Gilmour has been watching the developments in the Talent-McCaskill race; a tough, expensive Senate race that could determine whether Republicans keep control of the US Senate or lose it to Democrats Gilmour calls the race a waste of money. He says Talent and McCaskill are only bickering about each other. Gilmour complains that the campaign has ignored what he considers to be the biggest issue in the campaign; the growing national debt. Gilmour says the national debt has to be tackled by cutting spending to rein in annual deficits. He says Congress has to cut the budget to balance the budget. Gilmour says only when spending comes into alignment with the revenue the government receives will Congress be able to trim the national debt, which now exceeds $8.5 trillion. Gilmour is one of two so-called third party candidates on the ballot tomorrow. Progessive Party candidate, Lydia Lewis, also is on the ballot for US Senate.
The candidates in Missouri’s U.S. Senate race are getting in their last couple of days of campaigning prior to voters going to the polls on Tuesday – reaching out to their bases as well as to undecided voters. A national political consultant suggests incumbent Republican Senator Jim Talent and Democrat challenger Claire McCaskill reach out to the people who make up “Generation Jones.”
Commentator Jonathan Pontell coined the term “Generation Jones” for the group of people born between 1954 and 1965 – the group between the Baby Boomers and the Generation Xers. He says the Jonesers are traditonal values voters who have voted Republican in recent elections, but are evenly split in this race. Pontell says that while the Baby Boomers are among the most liberal voters and Generation Xers are among the most conservative voters, the Generation Jonesers are swing voters, making up about 27 to 30 percent of the electorate.
President Bush comes to southwest Missouri in an effort to energize the Republican base in Missouri prior to an important election on Tuesday. Bush has spoken both at Springfield and Joplin, urging Republicans to go to the polls Tuesday and to talk up Talent and the rest of the Republican field to their neighbors and friends. Senator Jim Talent, the incumbent Republican, is in the political race of his life against Democrat Claire McCaskill. The two have been neck-an-neck in the public opinion polls. Political pundits say the race could determine whether Republicans hang on to control of the United State Senate in Washington or yield control to Democrats. The Bush rallies in Missouri come as part of the president’s criss-crossing of the country on behalf of Republican candidates. The president is trying to defy the predictions of many political experts that the Republican Party will lose control of the US House and, possibly, the Senate during these mid-term elections. A victory by Talent Tuesday would drastically hurt efforts by the Democratic Party to seize control of the chamber. Bush keeps repeating at rallies that Republicans need to “turn out the vote” and “get out and vote”. He has been quick to thank grassroots activists; those that the president says put up the signs, make the telephone calls and turn out the vote. Bush says that work is essential in Talent’s re-election campaign. Bush says the political pundits in Washington, D.C. have already decided who will win the election. He says they have been wrong before and will be wrong this time.