Filing Deadline: March 31
Nov. 4, 1998 Sen. Christopher S. (Kit) Bond (R) won a third term, defeating Attorney General Jay Nixon (D), 53 percent to 44 percent.
Debates: Nixon came out swinging on Bond's record on crime in their debate appearances, blasting the incumbent for commuting thousands of criminal sentences during his gubernatorial tenure in the 1970s and 1980s. Nixon accused Bond of paroling a murderer which was proven untrue; the convict in question was serving a sentence for armed robbery. Bond responded that he didn't study each case before commuting the sentences, but rather served a ministerial role.
A mid-October debate took a turn for the strange as Bond and Nixon discussed foreign policy. Bond said he thought the U.S. should end the executive order that for the past 22 years has banned government agencies from sponsoring assassinations of foreign leaders. He said the U.S. instead consider proposed assassinations on a case-by-case basis. Nixon attacked the statement, calling it irresponsible. Nixon supported the trade embargo on Cuba, while Bond said the U.S. should drop it.
Issues: Race and civil rights played a huge role in this campaign. Bond built a good record on civil rights, while Nixon had to repair his relations with black leaders, who slammed him for his efforts to end state funding for St. Louis's court-ordered school desegregation program. They also fought mostly in TV ads over education and health care.
Advertising: The two fought over the airwaves over crime and health care. Bond's ads went unanswered by Nixon's camp for two months in the fall, prompting Nixon to refuse Bond's pledge against negative campaigning. When Nixon went on TV, he hammered on his crime theme, repeating his criminal parole allegations.
Fund-Raising: Kit Bond raised more than $5.8 million, spent about $5.2 million and had about $616,000 in cash on hand in mid-October. Nixon raised nearly $2.4 million, spent just over $2.3 million and had about $130,000 on hand.
Lisa Todorovich, washingtonpost.com
Lisa Todorovich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
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