November 8, 2006 Update:
As the Crystal Ball predicted, Democrat Claire McCaskill unseated Republican Jim Talent with 50% of the vote.
November 6, 2006 Update:
Claire McCaskill (D)
September 27, 2006 Update:
Third party candidates rarely have a chance in the national sphere; however, Missouri Libertarian Frank Gilmore seemed to be holding his own in the race for Senate. That was until he realized that his time was nearly up. Gilmore has been attending and doing well in recent debates, but he is not invited to the remaining four. Gilmore is already running a low campaign budget and using the web and his bannered truck as a source of name recognition, so this new obstacle may severely hurt his chances of having an impact on Election Day.
Erin Levin, Crystal Ball Southern Regional Correspondent
August 10, 2006 Update:
It’s no big surprise that Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican Senator Jim Talent each officially locked up their respective party nominations on Tuesday, August 8, each with substantial margins of victory. The two have been essentially campaigning against each other for the past several months, but now the contest will begin in earnest. In a race as close as this is turning out to be, look for both candidates to spend heavily and reach out to as many potential voter groups as possible.
August 2, 2006 Update:
Here is another race where the unpopularity of both the president and the Iraq war is taking a toll. Some public and private polls have Democrat Claire McCaskill leading Senator Jim Talent. There is no doubt that this will be a very close race, and it is much too early to predict it–or even to lean it–in one direction or another. But of the two campaigns, the Republican one must be the more concerned as we enter August. The Crystal Ball is monitoring this contest on a daily basis; every move from both camps matters.
June 1, 2006 Update:
This race has turned into a barn-burner, with Senator Jim Talent and Claire McCaskill virtually tied. If conditions continue to deteriorate for the Republicans, talent could easily end up being one of the GOP incumbents to be defeated in November. But, he is a resourceful candidate and as the incumbent, he simply cannot be counted out–certainly not this early.
March 27, 2006 Update:
The Crystal Ball is inclined to believe that Republican Senator Jim Talent will be able to pull this one out in the end, but we cannot ignore public and private polls that suggest this race is extremely close. It is not so much that Talent has made any big errors–though his “split the middle” Solomonic position on stem cell research has gotten him criticized by both sides. It is more that Missouri is a swing state, albeit Republican leaning, and the Democratic strength in 2006 is causing this low-profile but intelligent Senator some trouble.
Republican Senator Jim Talent, first elected to a partial term over incumbent appointee, Democrat Jean Carnahan, is in pretty good shape. Lots of prominent Democrats are mentioned, but none is moving with any eagerness to take up the challenge to Talent in 2006.
The losing Democratic nominee for Governor in 2004, State Auditor Claire McCaskill, announced at the end of August that she is running, after meeting with several national Democratic Party figures over the summer months. While potentially a strong candidate, McCaskill still enters the race as an underdog against Talent, although polls seem to indicate that it might be closer than it appears.
Missouri is often a GOP state, but it can go Democratic in years favorable to the minority party. Talent must worry that 2006 will be one of those years.
Jim Talent (I) – Republican – Second Quarter Raised: $2,218,388 | Cash on Hand: $7,123,023
Claire McCaskill – Democrat – Second Quarter Raised: $1,451,088 | Cash on Hand: $2,779,994
Frank Gilmour – Independent – small business owner, affiliated with the Libertarian party