Kinder, Page to compete in lt. gov. race
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- State Rep. Sam Page won a six-way Democratic primary Tuesday for the right to take on Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder in November.
Page more than doubled the vote total of his nearest competitor while Kinder turned back a couple of Republican primary challengers, receiving 78 percent of the vote.
Page received a 40 percent plurality of the Democratic vote, a more than 70,000-vote advantage over second-place finisher Michael Carter, with 98 percent of precincts reporting results.
Kinder and Page had increasingly turned their attentions toward each other as the election drew near.
And they came out firing on Election Night.
Page, a physician from suburban St. Louis, has made the restoration of the Republican-led 2005 Medicaid cuts one of his top priorities, pledging to use the state's No. 2 executive office as a bully pulpit for that cause.
"This election for lieutenant governor will be about access to quality affordable health care, especially for seniors in Missouri," Page said in an interview with The Associated Press after addressing supporters at a St. Louis restaurant. "Voters in Missouri will have to decide whether or not they want to change direction."
Kinder responded that to restore the Medicaid cuts -- as Page and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jay Nixon have proposed -- would eventually require a tax increase. The Democrats have denied that is necessary.
"If he's being honest with the voters, he has to support a tax increase -- not a small tax increase, but a large one -- and he's got to tell us where, on whom he's going to raise taxes and how much," Kinder said late Tuesday in an interview with the AP.
Kinder has touted his experience -- for example, serving as acting governor for more than 100 days while Republican Gov. Matt Blunt has been traveling outside the state.
Page was endorsed by all three of Missouri's living former Democratic lieutenant governors -- Roger Wilson, Joe Maxwell and Kenneth Rothman. He was the only Democrat who mounted much of a traditional campaign by raising significant amounts of money, traveling the state and broadcasting ads.
In radio ads, Page decried the "Blunt-Kinder health-care cuts."
Kinder, of Cape Girardeau, countered with radio ads urging people not to vote for Page. In one radio clip, Kinder compared Page to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde -- dubbing him "Mr. Hide" while asserting Page missed 284 votes during his six years in the House and backed some Medicaid cuts while supporting an increase in the Medicaid reimbursements paid to doctors.
Among the others in the Democratic race, Carter mounted the most creative campaign. He estimated he made 15 million to 20 million automated phone calls to potential voters. He was hoping the name recognition would outweigh any annoyance.