Our opinion Senate election a mess

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Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2012 11:55 pm | Updated: 11:31 am, Mon Oct 29, 2012.

Before Todd Akin, every major polling organization said Claire McCaskill likely would be defeated in her bid for a second six-year term as a U.S. senator from Missouri. Now this race is seen as very tight.

The difference has little to do with Ms. McCaskill’s adeptness at campaigning or with a sudden recognition she aligns closely with what her constituents want from their senator. Rather, this shift in polling speaks volumes about the distaste voters have developed for the extreme views of Mr. Akin.

It’s an effective ad: “Do you want this guy representing Missouri to the nation?”

The problem for many voters is the alternative, Ms. McCaskill, comes with weighty baggage.

She was on the right side of the Keystone XL pipeline proposal. She has provided helpful oversight of wasteful spending.

But she’s not the moderate she claims to be. It may be that she falls in the middle of elected U.S. senators, but that crowd skews left. In fact, Ms. McCaskill votes to support President Obama’s agenda more than 90 percent of the time, according to Congressional Quarterly.

She supported the sweeping health care law, the $830 billion in stimulus spending and the rapid escalation of our national debt. In this way, the failings of the Obama presidency become her failings.

Although Libertarian Jonathan Dine also is on the ballot, this race is between Ms. McCaskill and Mr. Akin. For vastly different reasons, we cannot recommend either to voters.

* * *

For the U.S. House, the choices for voters in the Midland Empire are much clearer. We recommend voters elect incumbent Reps. Sam Graves, R-Tarkio, Mo., and Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, Kan. Both are consistent in advocating for rural interests, including support for agriculture and small businesses, restraints on federal spending and reduced regulatory burdens.

Mr. Graves is a sixth-generation farmer. His opponents are Democrat Kyle Yarber, an educator from Gladstone, and Libertarian Russ Lee Monchil, who farms near Cameron.

Ms. Jenkins is a native of Holton, a certified public accountant and a former Kansas state treasurer. Her opponents are Democrat Tobias Schlingensiepen, a minister from Topeka, and Libertarian Dennis Hawver, an attorney from Ozawkie.

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