This will be the third time for Cape Girardeau to vote on gambling. In June 1993, voters defeated a proposal to allow casinos. Then in November 1993, they approved it.
For Cape Girardeau's third debate, the broader political background is a factor.
State and local governments throughout the country have looked for ways to cut spending and trim budgets. The possible infusion of revenue in Cape Girardeau has prompted police officers' and firefighters' associations to endorse the project. The city council has considered how to spend money received for land it owns that is needed for the casino.
"It's easier to say no to additional money when you feel you've got sufficient money," said Rick Althaus, a political science professor at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau. "But when you feel you don't have sufficient money, it's harder to say that no, 'I'm going to turn this money down for broader principles.'"Not surprisingly, supporters and critics both are claiming momentum before next week's election. Supporters say they are confident voters will buy into the economic development argument but warn a close electoral win could end up as a loss if state regulators are not convinced Cape Girardeau residents fully support the project. Critics, meanwhile, claim they are building grass roots support. One even is predicting the outcome: A 56 percent to 44 percent win for the opponents.