Top Stories Of The Week | KCUR

Top Stories Of The Week

Nov 10, 2012

Missouri elected a mostly Republican legislature, but most statewide offices went to Democrat. And pollsters were way off on the race between McCaskill and Akin. Those and other top stories of the week.

McCaskill Trounces Akin

It wasn't close after all. Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill beat Republican challenger Todd Akin by a 15 percent margin. Polls had showed a close race with a chance still remaining for Akin. At her victory celebration in St. Louis, the Senator told her supporters “you did it” and dedicated the evening to her mother, Betty Anne McCaskill, who passed away during the final week of the campaign.

After the McCaskill victory, national networks continued to air Akin's disastrous video clip about “legitimate rapes,” and blamed it for his defeat. Akin said “ all glory goes to God, no matter how he decides to organize history.”

Nixon Reelected As MO Governor

Governor Jay Nixon defeated Republican Dave Spence by almost as big a margin: 12 points, and continued his bipartisan rhetoric in a state Mitt Romney carried by almost that big a margin. While Nixon spoke about Democrats, Republicans and independents working together, Spence lamented ads over which he had sued the governor as unfair and misleading.

In Kansas, Conservatives Rule

There were no surprises in thoroughly Republican Kansas. The real horse races were in the primaries, where conservatives succeeded at deposing many moderates. The Kansas Senate, as well as the House, ends up now controlled by conservatives.

Missouri GOP WinS Legislature, Dems Take State Offices

In Missouri, Republicans kept control of both houses, but lost five of six statewide races as. Chris Koster easily won another term as Attorney General, Clint Zweifel remained Treasurer, and Jason Kander squeaked by for Secretary of State.

Congressional Incumbents Remain Popular

US House incumbents Sam Gravers, Vicky Hartzler and Emanuel Cleaver were reelected by 2:1 margins. In his victory remarks, Democrat Cleaver stressed cooperation and compromise. Four Republican House members from Kansas also won reelection.

Tobacco Tax Hike Fails Again

An attempt to raise Missouri's cigarette tax, the lowest in the nation, failed. It was the third narrow loss for a Missouri tobacco tax increase in the past decade. Convenience store association representatives said wise voters turned down a harmful tax hike. Dudley McCarter of an organization that supported the tax disagreed, saying it was a triumph for deceptive advertising.

Missouri Judge Selection Method Survives

Missouri voters also resoundingly turned down a constitutional amendment to give the governor more power and bar associations less power in selecting state appellate and supreme court judges. Supporters had ceased campaign efforts after a court upheld ballot language they said was misleading.

Missouri Voters Put Brakes On Insurance Exchange

Missourians heartily approved a ballot measure saying that only the legislature or the voters could authorize the state health insurance exchange part of the new federal health care law.

Two days later, Governor Jay Nixon said that with that new law, Missouri could not meet the deadline and the federal government would take over organizing a health insurance exchange for the state. The governor said he personally believed that the states should regulate insurance matters, but in the absence of authority to expedite the process, he would have to let the federal government create the exchange.

Brownback Blasts Exchanges, "Obamacare"

The same day that Nixon made his announcement about the insurance exchange, Governor Sam Brownback said Kansas would refuse to participate in setting up an exchange. But unlike Nixon, Brownback faullted the health care law itself, calling it an example of costly federal overreach.

Council Endorses Tax Credits for Union Station

The Kansas City city council gave its stamp of approval for the Union Station Board of Directors to approach the state of Missouri for $5 million in tax credits. Station CEO George Guastello said station office space is now 100 percent occupied and now self-supporting. He said that means the science center can move ahead with its mission of educating young Kansas Citians. The $10.7 million upgrade plan includes a bridge from the Station to the parking garage and an expanded 3-D interactive Google Fiber-connected theater.