JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri senate race between Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and U.S. Rep Todd Akin may decide the Senate majority. And with the election 20 days away, the candidates remain neck in neck.
Claire McCaskill met with voters in Columbia Tuesday, and while she refused to comment on Akin's campaign tactics, she was willing to talk about his policies.
"Only rich kids will go to college under Akin's world view because the government would have nothing to do with public education," McCaskill said. "This is just a way that I can underline that policy difference and sear it into people's brains and hopefully get a few votes."
Akin's press secretary, Ryan Hite, said via email "McCaskill's economic policies have resulted in one in six Missourians living below the poverty line while McCaskill's businesses receive $40 million in taxpayer money."
Hite also wrote that "The McCaskill/Obama economic policies have hurt Missouri and only helped people like Claire McCaskill who are getting rich on the taxpayer's dime."
Claire McCaskill campaigned Tuesday while also returning to her roots and waiting tables at Flat Branch Pub and Brewing in Columbia.
"My job is to try to get out here and make sure Missourian's know what the differences are and there's a real difference in terms of standing up for young people and their ability to get a higher education," McCaskill said.
According to McCaskill's communication director, Caitlin Legacki, the senator paid for college by waitressing and wanted to return to where she began.
"It's very much a part of who Claire is and where she comes from," Legacki said.
Chesterville resident Jane Ristau said she did not know Claire would be waiting tables when she came to Flat Branch Pub and Brewing for lunch, but said she was happy to see the senator.
"I think her waitressing shows a lot of character, I think she's a great person and I think it's really cool that she's here," Ristau said.
Restaurant patron David Pickering said he was not as enthusiastic about McCaskill's presence at Flat Branch Pub and Brewing.
"I think she should go home," Pickering said. "She needs to leave the private sector alone and get government out of the way so small business can prosper."
According to Real Clear Politics, most polls have McCaskill holding a slight lead over Akin.