ST. LOUIS — Voters here came out in record numbers, according to city elections officials, who reported an 88 percent turnout of registered voters. This compared to 67 percent in 2000. Statewide, one in 10 cast a ballot for the first time.

Democrat Robin Carnahan defeated Republican Catherine Hanaway to become Missouri’s next secretary of state. Democrat Russ Carnahan, Robin’s brother, won Dick Gephardt’s former seat in the 3rd Congressional District against Republican Bill Federer.

Incumbent Republican Kit Bond defeated Nancy Farmer for U.S. Senate. Bond is anti-choice, anti-union, supports the war in Iraq, and supports the privatization of Social Security, health care and education. Republicans maintained control of the state Senate and House.

Republican Matt Blunt defeated Claire McCaskill to become Missouri’s next governor. Many union leaders fear that Blunt will attempt to make Missouri a “right-to-work” state, severely weakening labor’s ability to bargain collectively on behalf of union members. The Service Employees International Union has raised concerns that Blunt will revoke Gov. Bob Holden’s executive order allowing state employees to unionize. Many state workers have become SEIU members.

African Americans, union members and younger voters strongly supported McCaskill, while the more affluent backed Blunt, as did rural voters who supported his position on “moral” issues.

Another illustration of the impact these issues have on voters was the hotly contested 15th state Senate district race between Republican majority leader Mike Gibbons and Democratic newcomer Jeanne Kirkton. Gibbons cast the deciding vote in favor of Missouri’s “conceal and carry” law while Kirkton was a leader in the Million Mom March against gun violence and opposed the law. Although 70 percent of Gibbons’ constituents voted against the concealed weapons law in a referendum, they still re-elected him based on his positions on abortion and religion.

The author can be reached at tonypec@cpusa.org.

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