missouri

Top Races in 2016: The Plains States

Supporters of Joni Ernst celebrate on Election Night 2014 after hearing that their candidate had won. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images File Photo)

This is the fifth in a series of regional looks at the most competitive House and Senate races in 2016. The Plains Region covers Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.  

Iowa 3rd District: Democrats are targeting freshman Rep. David Young, but the congressman’s district isn’t as favorable for a challenge as GOP Rep. Rod Blum’s 1st District. Obama won the 3rd with 51 percent in 2012 and 52 percent in 2008. Three Democrats are in the race including investment executive Mike Scherzan, Iraq War veteran/former Steve King challenger Jim Mowrer, and businessman Desmund Adams. This is a must-win seat for Democrats in a race that will probably be dominated by spending from the campaign committees.  

Gubernatorial Races to Watch in 2016

Democrats in North Carolina are hoping McCrory has overplayed his hand. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images File Photo)

Despite Democrats' surprising victory last week in Louisiana — where state Rep. John Bel Edwards beat Republican Sen. David Vitter in the runoff –  they hold only 18 gubernatorial seats, compared to the 31 held by Republican governors.  

Next year, Democrats will defend eight seats, including ones in targeted U.S. Senate battle grounds such as Missouri and New Hampshire, while Republicans will defend four.  Missouri: With incumbent Democrat Jay Nixon on his way out,  Republicans believe one of their top pickup opportunities is in Missouri, where the chief executive's office has been held by Democrats for all but four of the past 22 years.  

Ratings Shift in Three Senate Races

McCain will probably never be safe from a primary challenge as long as he stays in the Senate (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

A year out from the 2016 elections, the playing field of competitive Senate races is still taking shape, with ratings changes in three contests.  

The new Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call ratings are listed below — with more analysis is included in Friday’s edition of the Report.  

Onetime DCCC Prospect Greitens Running as Republican in Missouri

Greitens, a Republican, used to be a Democrat. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images File Photo.)

Depending on how things shake out, Missouri voters could face a bizarro world next fall: A former Democrat running as the Republican nominee for governor against a Democrat who used to be a Republican.  

Eric Greitens is part of a crowded and growing field of Republican candidates who will face off next August. As he launched a statewide tour earlier this month, the former Democrat attempted to turn what could be a weakness in the crowded Republican primary into a strength.  

Top Races to Watch in 2016: The Plains Region

Blum faces a competitive race in Iowa to hold onto his seat in the House. (File Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

   

Editor's note: This is the fourth in a series of regional looks at the most competitive House and Senate races to watch. The Plains Region includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.  

Matchup Rouses Missouri's Sleepy Senate Race

Blunt, right, chats with McCaskill in the Senate basement. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Missouri's 2016 Senate contest may never rival the drama of the 2012 campaign, but operatives from both parties expect the Show-Me State to show their respective candidates a good time.  

Sen. Roy Blunt’s re-election has been dismissed as a sleeper race compared to this cycle’s more competitive contests in other states. But the Republican is preparing for battle anyway.  

Jason Kander and the Secretary of State Curse

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat, announced his challenge to GOP Sen. Roy Blunt Thursday. But he’ll have to overcome the Republican lean of the Show-Me State and history in order to win.  

There are many paths to the Senate, but being a secretary of state is usually not one of them. The losing trend for the state officeholders is nothing new, but 2014 was supposed to be the cycle when at least one of the four current or former secretaries of state broke the Senate curse. It wasn’t. The trend and results shouldn’t have been a surprise if you read Stuart Rothenberg’s piece from March 2013 , “Not All State Offices are Launching Pads,” or his 2003 column , which was skeptical of Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum’s chances in South Carolina.  

Claire McCaskill Won't Run for Governor

McCaskill is a Democrat from Missouri. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., will not run for governor in the Show-Me State in 2016 — an open-seat race to replace term-limited Gov. Jay Nixon.  

"It is a firm no," McCaskill told KCUR radio Monday about her gubernatorial ambitions. McCaskill said she will support another Democrat, state Attorney General Chris Koster, who announced his bid months ago, according to the Kansas City Star . She said she enjoys her job in the Senate, where she said she can have a big impact as a moderate member.  

Top 5 Races to Watch in the Plains States

The Hawkeye State dominates the list of competitive races in the Plains. After the region hosted the high-profile North Dakota and Missouri Senate races in 2012, its trio of Senate races this cycle are likely to see action in the primaries — but not in November.

Here are the top five races to watch in the Plains states:

Palin Endorses in Missouri Special Election #MO08

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin endorsed Republican state Rep. Jason Smith in Missouri's 8th District special election.

She vouched for him through her usual channel, Facebook, writing: