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Friday, April 22, 2005

MO-Sen: Referendum on Stem Cell Research?

Posted by Tim Tagaris

In 2002, Republican Jim Talent eeked out a 22,000 vote special election victory for U.S. Senate over Jean Carnahan. This time around, Democrats are clammoring for a chance at defeating Talent, with a very interesting storyline emerging, even before the first official declaration.

Democratic state Sen. Chuck Graham, a symbolic leader of stem-cell research supporters, said he will probably challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, who has endorsed legislation to criminalize a certain kind of stem-cell research.

Graham, D-Columbia, who would be his party’s first candidate for the 2006 Senate race, is paralyzed from injuries he suffered in a car accident while a teenager and has helped lead the effort against Missouri legislation that would ban a type of stem-cell research commonly known as therapeutic cloning.

I haven't seen much polling data on stem cell research since the election, but the last numbers I found indicated a vast majority of Americans not only favor embyonic stem cell research, but federal funding for projects.

"Do you favor or oppose federal funding of research on diseases like Alzheimer's using stem cells taken from human embryos?" (Aug. 2004 - MoE +/- 3%)

Favor: 64%
Oppose: 28%
Don't Know: 8%

Several other Democrats have expressed interest in running for Talent's seat, including: Attorney General Jay Nixon and State Auditor Claire McCaskill. McCaskill, lost in Missouri's 2004 race for Governor, earning 48% of the vote against Matt Blunt. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan is also seriously considering a run.

Long-time Swing State Project readers might recognize Carnahan after expressing my angst over the uninspiring Russ Carnahan's (Robin's brother) primary victory over Jeff Smith in 2004.

Posted at 08:22 PM in Missouri | Technorati


More broadly speaking, stem cell research funding ballot measures should be the left-wing equivalent of state hate amendments - we should put them on the ballot not only because it's the right thing to do, but because it might help drive Dem-leaning voters to the polls.

I know there was thin evidence as to whether anti-gay marriage amendments actually helped the GOP, but given how flawed the exit polls were in 2004, I don't think anyone can be too confident about what effect they did or did not have. No matter what, I am sure they didn't *hurt* the GOP.

A side-point: I think the term "therapeutic cloning" sounds pretty good for our side, because the word "therapeutic" has strong positive connotations. (I could be wrong - "cloning" might be very negative.) But I wouldn't be surprised if the GOP tries to hijack the term (ala "personal accounts," "constitutional option") with something else.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 23, 2005 02:05 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Tim, Thanks for the many kind words on your blog regarding my campaign last year. Glad to see you are continuing to be active on behalf of progressive candidates. Keep your eye on Claire - I have a pretty good hunch she's going to run... Best, JRS

Posted by: Jeff Smith [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 6, 2005 10:55 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


First and foremost, thank you for stopping by Swing State Project. You were one of my favorite candidates, at any level, in 2004. Forget Claire McCaskill, the big question is, are you going to run again? I read that you were teaching somewhere and hadn't made a decision yet. I hope that when you do, either way, you can let me know.

I gotta say, I remember talking to a member of your staff during your primary, and I am glad you didn't let them convince you to take the basketball part out of "High Energy." The only thing left to wonder was whether or not you pulled up and hit the short runner or missed after that nice little stutter step.

I was so sad when you lost. That race, in my mind, encapsulated much of the current debate about the future of the Democratic Party. You would have made a great Representative. With all due respect to Congressman Carnhan, I just think he represented the wrong direction--too much of more of the same. Completely uninspiring.

Seriously, if there is anything I can do to help online if you do decide to run again, please do not hesitate to ask. And let me know when you do make that decision.

Tim - ttagaris at yahoo.com

Posted by: Tim Tagaris [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 8, 2005 09:30 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I, too, was a Jeff Smith supporter - attended a wonderful coffee in Webster Groves where Jeff spoke. Jeff was definitely the best candidate - I was not happy to see Russ win. However, should Robin decide to run, she is a lot sharper than Russ and does well outstate - she gained a lot of fans by criticizing the giveaway to the baseball stadium.

Posted by: Glic [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 12, 2005 10:10 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment