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NYT asks Sen. McCaskill about her purse; Missouri GOP embracing Latinos; low turnout in Missouri's 8th District and other items you may have missed this week.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri was included in a New York Times story on politicians’ purses this week.

The trend of profiling female politicians based on their fashion sense isn’t without its criticism (including digs from a former McCaskill campaign staffer), and that criticism is often quite valid.

McCaskill took the pragmatic approach to the NYT’s purse query - laying it down to them:

“Frankly, my purse selection is more about utilitarian than how it looks,” she said, explaining that her bags are always “big enough to carry one or two iPads, an Air book, a Hotspot, and a little bit of extra reading for irritating times I have to turn off my devices when we take off and land.”

“I think most of us, while we may look at the cute little purses, our lives don’t fit a cute little purse,” she said. “Our lives fit something that is in between a purse and a briefcase, and that’s what I carry.”

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PoliticMo reports that the Missouri Republican Party is endorsing an effort to embrace Latino Republicans living in Missouri.

According to the site, Missouri GOP Chairman Ed Martin sent a letter to the Republican National Hispanic Assembly last week, giving the state party’s support to its Missouri chapter.

“We firmly believe that a strong commitment to conservative values and principles are vital to the future of the GOP and that RNHA is committed to these values and principles,” Martin wrote.

The Missouri chapter of the national outreach effort held its first meeting at the Capitol last month.

Though the PoliticMO report doesn’t mention this bit of context, it’s probably worth noting the criticism Martin faced over comments he made about Hispanics in 2007.

During a Missouri Housing Development panel meeting, Martin – then chief of staff for Republican Gov. Matt Blunt – told a developer that if "there's a bunch of Mexicans" on a work site, some were likely to be illegal immigrants.

"I'll tell you what's available is every frigging developer can figure out who is legal, and when he says there's a bunch of Mexicans out there, I guess some of them are probably not legal," Missouri Digital News reported Martin saying, based on a meeting transcript.

As the P-D reported at the time, a state housing official of Mexican heritage later quit, citing Martin's "table-thumping tirade" in a letter to the governor.

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About 62,764 of the 484,931 registered voters in Missouri’s 8th Congressional District cast ballots in this week’s special election, according to the secretary of state’s office.

That’s less than a 13 percent voter turnout.

The three counties with the highest turnout were Dent (28.26%), Mississippi (20.10%) and Shannon (16.7%).

Secretary of State Jason Kander said in a news release on the turnout that more people would have voted if Missouri allowed early voting.

"I applaud everyone who participated in Tuesday's election," Kander said. "But with under 13 percent turnout, it's obvious we need to make it more convenient for eligible voters to cast a ballot, which is why I have been advocating for bringing early voting to Missouri. We came up with a bipartisan, affordable plan with support across the state this session that I will push again next year."

Democrat Steve Hodges reflects on his loss to Republican Jason Smith here.

 

Quick Hits

•  Kansas has a new law that attempts to clamp down on the use of government money to lobby on gun-control issues, the Associated Press reports. Missouri lawmakers have had their eyes on the neighbor state to the west and have embraced gun-friendly measures here in recent years. Add support from the NRA, and I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet that we’ll see similar legislation proposed here.

•  The St. Louis Beacon’s Jo Mannies previewed this weekend’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, the annual meeting of Missouri Democrats. Lots of talk recently about the future of the party and what roles big-names like Sen. Claire McCaskill and Gov. Jay Nixon will play. The Beacon article gives a good overview of that behind-the-scenes action.

•  House and Senate leaders are rolling out their interim committees now that the session is over, including one that will look into the “cause and spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in the Elk and White Tail Deer population,” as well as one tasked with trying to “preserve and strengthen the integrity of the legislative process.” The Missouri Times is keeping an updated list of them.

•  The Kansas City Star reports that Sen. Roy Blunt was briefly detained this week at a security gate at Joint Base Andrews after a dispute with Air Force security personnel.

•  The Jeff City News Tribune covers the latest in Jefferson City’s quest to build a conference center.

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