A Barnes candidacy would ensure a tight race in the largely rural, northwestern Missouri district. Barnes is finishing her second term as mayor, and on the first day of her congressional candidacy she would be better known than Graves's past three Democratic challengers have been.
One thing Ms. Barnes will have to worry about is the scorched earth policy of Graves' campaign manager (and Republican blogger) Jeff Roe. The tactics used by Roe in the past have been designed to make sure that Graves, who barely won in his initial try for the office, would not receive any credible opposition. Fortunately, it appears that strategy may not have worked, and voters in Graves' district will have a choice.