News Guide: Highlights of Missouri's election - KMOV.com

News Guide: Highlights of Missouri's election

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

Highlights of Election Day in Missouri:

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POLICIES OVER POLITICIANS, MOSTLY

When it comes to voters statewide, the question isn't so much who you're voting for, but what?

This election cycle finds Missouri with just one statewide elected office on the ballot. Republican Auditor Tom Schweich is heavily favored over two third-party candidates who haven't reported spending any money against him.

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Instead, voters statewide are being greeted by a series of ballot questions aimed at specific issues. The state's eight congressional districts are also up, as are two local races that have gained attention in recent weeks — the St. Louis County executive's seat and a judge's position in Cole County.

Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

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BALLOT MEASURES

Tuesday's ballot features four proposals, including an amendment to base teacher evaluations largely on student performance data. Proposed constitutional amendment 3 is opposed by public education groups, and the sponsors have quit campaigning for it.

Proposed constitutional amendment 6 would create a six-day, no-excuses-needed early-voting period for general elections, but only if the state provides funding.

Proposed constitutional amendment 2 would allow allegations of past criminal acts to be used against those facing sex-related charges involving victims under 18 years old.

Proposed constitutional amendment 10 would allow lawmakers to override a governor's decision to freeze or slow spending on items in the state budget.

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LOCAL RACES, AND WHAT THEY MEAN FOR GOV. NIXON

Republicans are expected to keep their majorities in the Missouri House and Senate, but the strength of their numbers could determine how much they can accomplish. Republicans are shooting to retain a two-thirds majority of at least 23 Senate seats and 109 House seats in order to be able to override vetoes by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.

The divide between Nixon and state lawmakers is so wide that U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and other top Democratic officeholders poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the state party to help finance this year's state legislative races. They're hoping Democrats can cut into the Republican supermajority.

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY

Three months ago, the two candidates for St. Louis County executive couldn't have anticipated how a race normally about the nuts and bolts of local government would become something of a referendum on police killings.

But the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black, by a white police officer in Ferguson in August transformed the election. Brown was killed by Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson just four days after Democratic County Councilman Steve Stenger defeated 11-year incumbent Charlie Dooley, and conservative state lawmaker Rick Stream won a two-man Republican primary.

Stenger has become a primary target of Ferguson protesters for his steadfast support of county prosecutor Bob McCulloch — and his refusal to join their calls for McCulloch to recuse himself from the case over concerns about his family ties to law enforcement. In early October, a group of more than 30 local elected black leaders publicly endorsed Stream, citing a "total absence of any political consideration for the African-American community" among county Democrats.

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COLE COUNTY JUDGE

Attention — and lots of money — have been pouring into Cole County, where Republican Brian Stumpe has received big money from the GOP in his bid to oust Cole County Circuit Court Judge Pat Joyce. Cole County is home to the state Capitol, meaning its judges hear cases that question the constitutionality of legislation or the wording of statewide ballot initiatives. Joyce now is the only Democratic judge in the circuit court, and a national GOP group has swooped in to try and seat another Republican in her spot. That's made the local judicial election — typically sleepy, low-budget affairs — one of the more interesting races in Missouri, even though most voters will have no say whether to elect Stumpe, a Republican attorney, or Joyce, who's held the post since 1994.

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