I've got to learn to quit complaining because it always comes with a cost. This time the cost was in time and gasoline, both precious commodities.
I bitched in this space a few weeks ago about my disgust at having to drive a few miles (three - each way) to vote, and then having to enter a fundamentalist church in order to secure and cast my ballot. Somebody up the political food chain must have been paying attention because I got a card in the mail last week informing me that my voting place had changed. It was now on the extreme far side of town (an additional two miles - each way) and located in a Baptist church. That'll teach me!
Today is primary election day in Missouri and the premier state race is a four-way Republican scramble for governor - with the winner more than likely to face the state's current attorney general, Chris Koster, in the general election this November. While I was tempted to take a Republican ballot and help the Stupid Party select its gubernatorial candidate, I opted instead to vote the much more mundane Democratic ballot. The Democrats have multiple candidates vying for a couple of offices, but there are strong favorites for each office and no surprises are anticipated.
I cast my primary vote for Chris Koster for governor - and I have his bumper sticker on my car. Koster has built up a big war chest for the general election, and he should benefit from the blood-letting going on among the four Republican candidates. Koster appears to be free of controversy and well liked - and he has the charm and smarts to become a national player at some point.
My primary vote for United States Senator went to our current secretary of state, Jason Kander. Kander, an Afghan War veteran and the youngest statewide office holder in the nation, is posing a serious electoral threat to our sitting senator, Ol' Roy Blunt. Ol' Roy seems to be struggling to free himself of the tar baby that is Donald Trump. One of Kander's primary opponents is a marijuana legalization activist from Dent County who goes by the legal moniker "Chief Wana Dubie." The Chief is, of course, a colorful character - and he has a burning marijuana leaf tattooed on his forehead! I have to admit that part of me wanted to cast my vote his way - but defeating Ol' Roy is just too danged important - and Kander is the man who can do it!
Tomorrow's news out of Missouri will be who the Republican's choose to carry their banner into the governor's race this November. The four candidates - Eric Greitens, John Brunner, Catherine Hanaway, and Peter Kinder - are all polling surprisingly close together with Greitens and Brunner generally leading by slim margins. They are slinging more poop an army of angry monkeys - and it literally could be anyone's race.
Sadly, the Democratic Governors' Association has chosen to insert itself into this race. A group funded by the DGA has reportedly paid for media ads attacking Eric Greitens, the one that the group appears to fear most - although at least one major poll shows Greitens being the most vulnerable potential opponent for Koster. The DGA, in my most humble opinion, has done little more that waste a half-a-million dollars meddling in Republican affairs - and, in the process, given the GOP a campaign issue.
(Trying to co-opt voters in the opposing party is a campaign tactic that was honed to a sharp edge by our senior United States senator, Claire McCaskill, when she literally used her electoral cunning to select her Republican opponent four years ago - and then beat him ragged like an old rug.)
Eric Greitens primary qualification for office seems to be that he is a former Navy Seal. He also has a history of loose affiliation with the state's Democratic Party and was encouraged by party officials a few years back to run for Congress as a Democrat. In 2008 Greitens went on a road trip with former governor Bob Holden to the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Greitens has also taken a lot of grief over a one million dollar donation that he received from a California venture capitalist - a man who is being sued by a woman who claims he held her as a sex slave for thirteen years. Greitens' sanctimonious opponents have demanded that he return the donation or give it to charity - but Greitens must truly be a Republican at heart because he has chosen to keep it.
John Brunner, a native of St. Louis, is a retired businessman - and a self-made millionaire - who has the ability and the inclination to self-fund much of his run for office. Brunner would have voters believe, much like Donald Trump, that a business background is is an asset for holding public office.
Catharine Hanaway is a former Speaker of the Missouri House and U.S. Attorney. She is posturing as "the" law and order candidate of the election and finding fault with the protesters at Ferguson - but not the police. Hanaway, like Greitens, has a rich sugar daddy who has contributed generously to her campaign.
The final candidate is Peter Kinder, Missouri's current lieutenant governor and the candidate most polls show as likely to finish last. Kinder, who has no sugar daddy dumping big money on his campaign, dropped out of a race for governor four years ago after it was revealed that he had had some sort of an affair with a stripper and had misused state money. He, like Greitens, also appears to be Republican to the core.
The polls close at 7:00 p.m. - Missouri time - and which of these four "conservative" yahoos will take the state GOP crown is anybody's guess. They are a narcissistic and angry crew, and the poop will likely keep flying for a few more days - and, I suspect, Chris Koster is counting on it.
Here's hoping for a long, bitter recount!
Good luck, Chief Wana Dubie. I hope you finish a strong second!