The Corner

Missouri Politics

Most of the Republican names I have heard for Kit Bond’s Senate seat occupy the same ideological territory, so the main question becomes who can best hold it. As for the speculation that Gov. Matt Blunt’s unpopularity might hurt his father, Rep. Roy Blunt, in a general election: It would be good to have some numbers. The most recent polling I have seen on the younger Blunt comes from mid-August, when Republican firm American Viewpoint found his favorable/unfavorables at 50-41 and his job approval/disapproval at 47-46. My wife worked for the elder Blunt a few years ago, so I may be biased, but those numbers do not seem like all that heavy a millstone.

Polling out today on possible Senate match-ups has Democrat Robin Carnahan up against all Republican comers, with Roy Blunt the strongest of the tested candidates. He holds her to a dead heat, which isn’t bad when you consider that she was just elected statewide and that we’re in a moment of Democratic euphoria. He has the strongest fundraising potential and organizational base of any of the candidates, and he has a geographic advantage too. A winning statewide Republican has to be strong in the south, and Blunt has a real presence there.

Sarah Steelman might be able to do well enough in that region in a general election—but how does she get through the primary if Blunt runs? She lost to Kenny Hulshof in last year’s gubernatorial primary while carrying Blunt’s congressional district. She wouldn’t carry it against Blunt.

All that said, these are early days.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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