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Saturday, January 1, 2011

AP - Skelton loss at the top of 2010 Missouri news stories - State’s budget mess #2


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In a year dominated by big winners in the November elections, the biggest headline in Missouri was about who lost.

Voters ended the 34-year career of Democratic U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton on Nov. 2, electing Republican Vicky Hartzler after a campaign in which the GOP worked furiously to connect Skelton to an unpopular President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The result was ranked as the top news story of 2010 in a survey of Associated Press member newspaper and broadcast editors.

Skelton had long maintained a strong grip on a 4th District that otherwise tilts toward Republicans by emphasizing his military expertise and social conservative views.

But Hartzler scored points with voters by casting Skelton as out of touch with his constituents and portraying her congressional campaign as a “fight to take back our country.”

The state’s budget mess was the second-ranked story. Gov. Jay Nixon’s administration has estimated that Missouri faces a shortfall of between $500 million and $700 million for the next fiscal year, a gap equivalent to almost 10 percent of the state’s general tax revenues.
Through two years of slumping tax revenues, the Democratic governor and Republican-led Legislature already have eliminated more than 2,000 state jobs and reduced funding for public colleges and universities, early childhood programs, public health clinics and home care providers for the disabled, among other things.

U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt’s ascendency to the Senate was ranked as the No. 3 story by editors after his 14-point win over Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.

It was the largest margin since John Ashcroft’s Senate victory in the Republican wave of 1994.

The rest of the top 10:
4) Missourians approved a ballot measure expressing opposition to a federal health care mandate and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder filed a lawsuit against it.
5) Because of the budget shortfall, Gov. Nixon warned the state’s public colleges and universities to prepare for tuition increases and significant funding cuts after two consecutive years of tuition freezes.
. Click Here for Rest of Top 10

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