Saturday, July 26, 2008

Post-Dispatch: Southwest Missouri vote key to governor's race

The Southwest Missouri vote will determine who will face Jay Nixon in November, according to an article posted today on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website:

In deciding between those styles, Ozarks voters hold the key. Both candidates have put in their miles in southwest Missouri, driving from Joplin to Springfield and Hartville to Cassville and every little blink-and-you'll-miss-it town in between.

Voters in this GOP haven have played a major role in recent Missouri elections. So it's natural that Hulshof and Steelman would spend time here.

Both fit the traditional mold of an Ozarks conservative.

They oppose gay marriage. They're anti-abortion and pro-gun. They talk up a good game of fighting illegal immigration. They vow never to raise taxes.

Beyond those similarities, voters will find a couple of issues where the two candidates take different paths.

Since early this year, nearly every gallon of gasoline sold in Missouri has contained 10 percent ethanol. The mandate was pushed by Blunt and a compliant Republican Legislature that had a hankering for the sweet taste of corn.

Hulshof, a corn farmer, is an unapologetic fan of the ethanol mandate.

Steelman, too, had supported the mandate. But late in the campaign, when the price of gas spiked yet again, Steelman changed her tune and found the issue that has helped drive a wedge between the two candidates.

"Government mandates have never worked in a free market," Steelman said. "They cause prices to go up."

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