A long-time friend, political adviser and colleague of Attorney General Jay Nixon says he sees a difference in Nixon that led to his victory in the gubernatorial race.
Nixon won a lopsided victory November 4 th over Republican Kenny Hulshof, the northeast Missouri Congressman.
Jefferson City Attorney Chuck Hatfield worked as Nixon’s Chief of Staff and Counsel in the attorney general’s office for ten years. Hatfield ran his 1998 Senator campaign; a loss to incumbent Republican Bond. Nixon also lost in a challenge to incumbent Republican John Danforth in 1988.
Hatfield says a shift in attitude among the electorate benefitted Nixon this year. He suggests that Nixon’s stance on issues hasn’t changed much over the years. Hatfield notes that Nixon emphasized health care in 1998, but the issue didn’t seem to interest voters as much as it did this year. He says Nixon has matured over the years, since first winning election as attorney general in 1992.
Hatfield says the one adjective he would use to describe Nixon would be "aggressive". He still sees an aggressive Nixon, but one who has learned to temper his aggression. Hatfield says Nixon has grown up and now knows where the political minefields are.
Nixon benefitted from an ineffective Hulshof campaign, hastily thrown together after Governor Blunt announced in January he wouldn’t run for re-election. Hatfield says everything changed when Blunt decided not to run for re-election. That forced a primary showdown between Hulshof and State Treasurer Sarah Steelman that left Hulshof battered and broke. Hatfield says a lack of experience in running a state-wide campaign also doomed Hulshof.
Hatfield says Nixon appears to have a sharper focus, more intense than in the past, which he says is a a product of years of Nixon working at his career.