Talk of Missouri being in play as a presidential swing state this year is also being taken seriously with down-ticket state races.
FiveThirtyEight, the popular site of statistical stories, says polling showing Hillary Clinton within just two points of Donald Trump may make Missouri one of the states swinging from red to blue this year.
Incumbent Republican Sen. Roy Blunt is holding a slim lead over Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat. Blunt was in Kansas City Thursday and dismissed concerns of a toss-up.
“I think I’ve got a record that Missourians can look at and feel good about,” he said. “But I think Trump’s going to carry the state and I think that’s a good thing.”
Blunt, who is running for a second term, also questioned the validity of the polls. FiveThirtyEight says the polling makes a Kander win, once thought a long-shot, “more conceivable.”
This week Monmouth University released a poll showing Blunt ahead by just five points. While Republicans supported Blunt and Democrats supported Kander in equal measure (88 percent), Independents sided with Blunt 47 percent to 36 percent.
Kander’s campaign responded Thursday, pointing to the millions spent on Blunt’s TV ads “to try to prop up his struggling campaign.”
“Sen. Blunt has seen his lead shrink to within the margin of error in nearly every public poll and his unfavorable rating continue to rise among voters because they are tired of the status quo in Washington,” said Anne Feldman, Kander’s press secretary.
Peggy Lowe is investigations editor at Harvest Public Media and based at KCUR, which is a partner in a statewide collaboration covering elections in Kansas. You can find her on Twitter @peggyllowe.