For some in President Obama’s White House, Missouri remains the state that got away, nearly two years after his election.
After all, the state has sided with the winner of the presidential race in nearly every election in the past century. Who would wish to be remembered for breaking that sort of trend?
Now, even as President Obama juggles a barrage of dire matters, relatively calm Missouri seems to continue to carry some particular attention for the White House. This week, Mr. Obama will be in the state again, raising money in a competitive Senate campaign in a challenging political season for Democrats.
It will be Mr. Obama’s fifth trip here since his election. White House officials say the president has traveled to other swing states nearly as often, but there may be no state he lost that has seen more of him (aside from Louisiana, thanks to the oil spill disaster.)
Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat who won his first term as Mr. Obama lost here and was the state’s longtime attorney general, said he senses strong interest in the state, in part because of the memory of that slim loss in 2008.
“It intrigues him,” Governor Nixon said last month, ticking off by memory the visits Mr. Obama has made. “I think the complexity of the state intrigues him, too, as a microcosm of the country.”
Missouri voters on Tuesday easily approved a measure aimed at nullifying the new federal health care law, becoming the first state in the nation where ordinary people made known their dismay over the issue at the ballot box.
The measure was intended to invalidate a crucial element of President Obama’s health care law — namely, that most people be required to get health insurance or pay a tax penalty. Supporters of the measure said it would send a firm signal to Washington about how this state, often a bellwether in presidential elections, felt about such a law.
According to preliminary results, just under 668,000 Missourians voted in favor of Proposition C. Only 578,000 Republicans voted in their party’s primaries. Another 40,000 voters appear to have cast votes on Proposition C without voting in either the Republican or Democratic primaries. So, even if you assume that every single Republican voted for the initiative and every person who didn’t vote in a primary voted for it, at least 40,000 Democrats — more than one in every eight Democratic primary voters — voted against the centerpiece of President Obama’s health-care plan. And these aren’t just any registered Democrats; these are the party activists, the Democratic base.