Cleaver vs. Turk contest could be closest yet

KANSAS CITY, Missouri - It's shaping up as a tough year for Democrats, even those in typically safe seats.

In Kansas City's Fifth District, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver is running for his fourth term, and being challenged for the third time in a row by Republican Jacob Turk .

Cleaver represents a district that has had Democratic representation for decades.

Even Cleaver expects Turk to get more votes than ever before.

This is the first time Turk has had a campaign office where volunteers can stuff envelopes and work the phones.

He's trying to ride the anti-incumbent wave.

"... that stood up with their concerns about overspending and government not listening to them. So that was the wave that came. What they call the Republican wave I would call a conservative wave," said Turk.

Cleaver has beaten Turk twice, but with this year's expected Republican victories, is he campaigning hard enough ?

"I am probably putting more energy into it this year simply because this is an unpredictable year," said Cleaver.

Turk says the nation's stimulus spending and bailouts have cost too much, and produced too few results.

"Unemployment figures came out just last week, and Kansas City lost another 1,800 jobs. So I find it very hard for anybodyto claim htat the stimulus has worked in any meaningful way," said Turk.

"I feel very good about what we did with the stimulus package. I'm not going to apologize for saving jobs right here in the Fifth district," said Cleaver.

This year Turk raised enough to launch his first ever TV ad.

"..if we keep sending Emanuel Cleaver back to Congress, we'll keep getting the same results... " is part of what he says in the commercial.

Cleaver's not on t-v right now, but has the money to get into an air-war if he needs to.

Political experts say Cleaver should win re-election.

But a recent poll showed him leading Turk by only nine points, compared to his 28 point victory over Turk two years ago.

That makes a single digit lead look closer than ever.

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