Morning headlines: Thursday, August 9, 2012 | St. Louis Public Radio

Morning headlines: Thursday, August 9, 2012

Aug 9, 2012

McCaskill gears up for campaign against Akin

Senator Claire McCaskill stopped at a sheet metal shop in Kansas City, Mo. Wednesday morning to kick off her campaign for the general election.

The Democratic incumbent criticized her newly anointed Republican challenger Todd Akin as being out of the mainstream on Medicare, student loans, and the minimum wage.

McCaskill said she will better represent the middle class.

"I'm going to make sure Missourians understand that this is about them," McCaskill said. "This is about their future. This is about the future of the middle class in this state and the strength of our economy based on that important middle class and the small business like we're in today."

McCaskill will be in St. Louis today and will launch a statewide tour next week focusing on agriculture.

Less than one-fourth of Mo. voters cast ballots in primary

The Missouri secretary of state's office said Wednesday that 23 percent of the state's nearly 4.1 million registered voters actually voted in Tuesday's primary. The top draw was a constitutional amendment expanding the right to pray in public places, which attracted a total of nearly 943,000 votes while easily passing.

About twice as many people cast Republican ballots as Democratic ballots - led by the GOP race for U.S. Senate, won by Congressman Todd Akin.  Turnout was nearly identical to the 2010 primary. It was highest this year in several rural counties, topping out at 44 percent in Harrison County. The lowest voter turnouts were recorded in Boone County and in the Kansas City area.

Nixon approves more than 3,000 applications from farmers for drought help

Gov. Jay Nixon says Missouri officials have approved more than 3,700 applications totaling $18.7 million to help drought-stricken farmers and ranchers get more water. The emergency program provides for the state to pay 90 percent of the cost of drilling or deepening a well or expanding an irrigation system. The state's match is capped at $20,000 per project.

Nixon announced the program in late June. Monday was the deadline for farmers and livestock producers to apply. The state Soil and Water Commission initially approved $2 million for the effort. Nixon quickly added another $5 million because of intense demand.  The governor's office says it is using its authority to respond to emergencies to provide additional funding for the program.

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