Missouri Rejects Native Son Bradley
(CNSNews.com) - A light voter turnout was reportedly a factor as Democrats handed Missouri native son Bill Bradley a defeat at the hands of Vice President Al Gore in the "Show Me" state's Democrat presidential primary. Governor George W Bush won handily over Senator John McCain on the Republican side.
With all the precincts reporting, Gore receiving 65 percent of the vote (42 delegates) to Bradley's 34 percent (21 delegates). Bradley's loss is all the more disappointing because he was born and raised in Crystal City, Missouri, south of St Louis.
Bush received 58 percent of the vote to McCain's 35 percent and Alan Keyes' 6 percent. Exit polls show that McCain had the edge among one-fourth of Missouri voters who never voted in a GOP primary.
Before the polls closed Tuesday, Missouri Secretary of State Bekki Cook (D) told CNSNews.comhe expected just under 30 percent of the state's 3.5 million registered voters to participate in Missouri's first presidential primary in 12 years.
"After the last few days we had a little upsurge in interest and then it unfortunately it sort of fell apart as people began to think that these races were already over," Cook said.
According to Cook unseasonably warm weather may also have been a factor in lower voter turnout: "In the morning, we were saying, 'the weather can't be a factor.' Tonight, we're saying, 'Oh, the farmers were all out in their fields.' You can always spin it anyway you want. It is in the agricultural areas where we are seeing our lowest turnout. We think people were out getting things done for springtime and didn't go to the polls. Sometimes even the beautiful weather even plays against you," said Cook.
Leading up to Super Tuesday Gore campaigned Monday in St. Louis where he told a rally that he would fight for Missouri, if elected president. Bradley spent the weekend stumping in Hannibal, Missouri and said he came home out of respect for Missouri voters.
Governor Bush visited Missouri several times in the weeks leading up to the primary. McCain stopped once in Missouri this year but made no public appearances. Keyes had campaigned in Springfield and St Louis over the weekend.
Bush apparently benefited from the endorsements of Missouri Republican Senators Christopher Bond and John Ashcroft. Gore received the backing of House Democrat Minority Leader Richard Gephardt of St Louis.