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The 2004 Missouri gubernatorial election took place on 2 November 2004 for the post of Governor of Missouri. Missouri Secretary of State Republican Matt Blunt defeated State Auditor Democrat Claire McCaskill. This gave the Republican party control of both the Governorship and the Missouri General Assembly for the first time in 80 years.

McCaskill had earlier defeated incumbent Governor Bob Holden in the Democratic primary. This was the first time a sitting Governor of Missouri had been defeated in a primary and the first time any USmarker Governor had lost in a primary since 1994.

Republican primary

Missouri Secretary of State Matt Blunt easily defeated several lesser known opponents in the Republican primary.

Candidate # of votes % of votes
Matt Blunt 534,393 88.4
Karen Skelton-Memhardt 26,089 4.3
Jennie Sievers 18,733 3.1
Jeff Killian 10,423 1.7
Roy Lang 8,750 1.5
Martin Lindstedt 6,369 1.1
Source: 2004 Gubernatorial Republican Primary Election Results - Missouri

Democratic primary

Bob Holden had a difficult term as Missouri Governor starting at his Inauguration in 2000 which cost 1 million dollars and which he struggled to pay for. The state economy suffered a downturn forcing him to make budget cuts and the Republican party gained control of the State Senate for the first time in 50 years. Holden was nicknamed by his opponents as "One Term Bob".

Holden announced that he would run for re-election in March 2003 blaming the Republican party for many of the problems during his term as Governor. However Holden was challenged by State Auditor Claire McCaskill for the Democratic nomination, who said that she would be a stronger candidate in the General election against Blunt.

McCaskill attacked Holden for delays in education funding, the state's deteriorating roads and increases in tuition fees at Missouri's universities. Holden sought to defend his term in office and attacked McCaskill for the people she accepted campaign contributions from. McCaskill picked up most newspaper endorsements during the primary and won the primary on 3 August against Holden.
Candidate # of votes % of votes
Claire McCaskill 437,780 51.6
Bob Holden 383,734 45.3
Jim LePage 16,761 2.0
Jeffrey Emrick 9,473 1.1
Source: 2004 Gubernatorial Democratic Primary Election Results - Missouri


After the primaries finished Holden and McCaskill met to unite the Democratic party for the general election for what was always seen as being a close race against Blunt.

The first of two debates between Blunt and McCaskill was held on 18 October where McCaskill compared her experience to Blunt's inexperience; while Blunt said that McCaskill would not support the Marriage protection amendment to the State Constitution. In the two debates Blunt described himself as bringing change to Missouri and was assisted by President George W. Bush during the campaign. McCaskill kept her distance from Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry due to Bush's lead in Missouri.

In the end Blunt narrowly defeated McCaskill with surveys showing his conservative stance on social issues and the strong showing of President Bush in Missouri helped him to victory. Blunt obtained strong leads in the rural parts of the state which was sufficient to overcome McCaskill's leads in St. Louismarker and Jackson Countymarker. Blunt thus became Missouri's second youngest Governor.

Election results

Source: 2004 Gubernatorial General Election Results - Missouri


See also

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