Stem Cells, Iraq, Security Top Issues for Missouri

McCaskill supporters

Dorry Pease (from left), Mindy Lawrence and Connie Garcia are voting for Democrat Claire McCaskill in Missouri's U.S. Senate race. Andrea Hsu, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Andrea Hsu, NPR
Talent supporters

Faye Adams (left) and Peggy Haldeman support incumbent Republican Jim Talent. Andrea Hsu, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Andrea Hsu, NPR

Stem cell research, the war in Iraq, national security and civil liberties are among the top issues for voters in Missouri.

And these topics dominated conversation at a recent gathering of women voters in the town of Pevely, Mo., south of St. Louis.

The five women — some of them mothers and grandmothers, some retired and some working — are all writers by avocation, and have met one another through writers' groups.

In the hotly contested election for one of Missouri's U.S. Senate seats, their minds are made up: Three of them will be voting for the Democrat, Claire McCaskill, and two will cast their ballot for Republican incumbent Jim Talent.

For them, the personal is often the political, and they discuss their own experiences with abortion, stem cell research and the war in Iraq — and how those experiences have shaped their political views and their decisions on how to vote.

These women understand that the Missouri Senate race is being closely watched because it's so tight and because it's a prime race that could help tip the balance of power in Washington.

They also agree that the contest between Claire McCaskill and Jim Talent is as much — if not more so — a referendum on President Bush as it is about the candidates themselves.

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