Gonzales

Senate Rating Change: Blunt on the Bubble in Missouri

Missouri race could be bellwether for how Republicans' night goes

Defeating Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt would be a major win for Democrats but Blunt continues to maintain a lead in the polls. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Polls in Missouri consistently show GOP Sen. Roy Blunt with an advantage over his Democratic challenger, Secretary of State Jason Kander, but some Republicans are concerned that the race could get tighter.

And the race could be bellwether for whether Republicans have a bad night or a terrible one.

Democrats remain confident in the bio of their candidate, a 35-year-old attorney who served a tour in Afghanistan with the Army National Guard, in contrast to a longtime politician's résumé.

Democrats have also been critical of Blunt’s connections to lobbyists, including family members. But Kander’s wife once listed “assisting in lobbying efforts” on her professional biography. Democrats noted that she has never been a registered lobbyist but awkwardly called it an “aspirational bio.”

[Roll Call's 2016 Election Guide: Senate]

Kander stands to benefit from less of a focus on defeating Rob Portman in Ohio or Marco Rubio in Florida because it would free up party funds to be spent elsewhere, including Missouri. Politico first announced the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee independent expenditure arm’s $1.5 million ad buy against Blunt. Democratic strategists are more excited about defeating Blunt than John McCain in Arizona. 

It’s hard to see Blunt running behind Donald Trump, who is on track to win Missouri in the presidential race. But it remains to be seen whether persistent Democratic attacks will damage the senator.

We’re changing The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call race rating from Republican Favored to Leans Republican.

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