JEFFERSON CITY - State Auditor Claire McCaskill gave Missouri Democrats their one statewide victory for the night -- a landslide victory following an unusual campaign against Republican challenger and ex-felon Al Hanson.
"This is close to what we expected," McCaskill said. "It's been an unusual campaign and an unusual race."
She had said she was running a serious campaign all along, even though her main opponent was a convicted felon who raised less than $500.
"We wish we could've talked about the record more and less about his record," McCaskill said.
Hanson could not be reached for comment Tuesday night. The founder of a Lutheran prison ministry, he had touted his experience as a floor broker and independent financial consultant as a good background for auditor.
McCaskill, a former Jackson County prosecutor and state legislator, says her stint in the auditor's office has given her necessary knowledge of the workings of state government. She defeated Chuck Pierce in 1998 to win her first term as auditor with little more than 50 percent of the vote.
In spite of the fact that some Missouri Republicans distanced themselves from Hanson's candidacy, McCaskill maintained that her campaign was business as usual.
She has more than $470,000 left of the $850,000 she raised for this campaign, which could roll over to a future gubernatorial bid. McCaskill has said she plans to run for the mansion in 2008.
As for her next term as auditor, McCaskill said she will continue to "get to the nonsense in government." She promised aggressive audits of higher education, transportation and social services.
McCaskill, 49, is the mother of three and the wife of St. Louis businessman Joseph Shepard. She said she was glad to be able to relax early in the evening and root for other Democrats, though she wished she could share her wealth of votes.
"I just wish right now I could give some of my points to Jean Carnahan," McCaskill said.