Battleground Missouri

In the first of what could be many close encounters, John McCain and Barack Obama will both be campaigning in Missouri tomorrow, the first time the two candidates have hit the same battleground state on the same day since the general election started.

At this point in the campaign the battleground map is anywhere from 12-18 states depending on who you are talking to. But as we get closer to Election Day, that map will shrink and the candidates will spend their time in a handful of key states. As the pace gets more frenetic on the campaign trail, McCain and Obama are bound to run into each other or get pretty darn close.

(Remember the bank heist in Davenport IA in August 2004 when John Kerry and President Bush were both holding events at the same time? Or the time their motorcades played Chicken and nearly crossed paths on I-70 in Western Pennsylvania, missing each other by about a half hour?)

Sometimes the battleground states just aren't big enough for the both of them but tomorrow McCain and Obama will share the spotlight as they compete for Missouri's 11 Electoral Votes. Missouri is considered the classic bellwether state – it has gone with the winner in every election since 1900 except for one, when the state voted for Adlai Stevenson over Dwight Eisenhower in 1956.

McCain will be stumping for dollars tomorrow night in Kansas City while Obama travels around the state with one of his top surrogates, Sen. Claire McCaskill. Obama holds two town hall meetings, in Springfield and Rolla, and attend a barbeque in Union.

McCain starts his day in Colorado and will deliver remarks on energy policy at the Wagner Equipment Company outside Denver.

Sen. Ted Stevens indicted It was already a challenging election year for Senate Republicans, with 23 seats currently held by Republicans up for grabs on Election Day. Today that task grew a bit more daunting with the news that Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska was indicted by the Department of Justice for seven felony counts of making false statements.

ABC News' Jake Tapper reports that Stevens has stepped down from his leadership positions as top Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee and as top Republican on the Appropriations Committee's defense appropriations subcommittee, per Senate Republican rules for indicted officials. Stevens will remain on those committees.

Stevens is up for re-election in November, running a tough race against Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. Today's news puts Stevens in even deeper hot water now.

Next up for Stevens is the state's Aug. 26 primary where he is competing against five minor Republicans. The Fix's Chris Cilliza reports that it is too late to remove his name from the ballot but perhaps the best hope for Republicans is that Stevens wins the primary and then steps out of the race, allowing the party to put in a stronger candidate to challenge Begich.

But that of course depends on Stevens getting out and all indications so far have been that he has no plans to go anywhere, even as the cloud of scandal turned into an actual indictment.

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