Missouree? Missouruh? To Be Politic In Missouri, Say Both

Jeff Roe, a longtime Republican operative in the state, said he has never discussed pronunciation with a Missourian candidate, but advises those from out of state: “Stay safe and say Missouruh.” (Indeed, in the Senate race, most of the television ads using the soft vowel, known to linguists as a schwa, come from national political action committees.)

Mr. Nixon, a moderate Democrat, whose policy positions sometimes reflect the same try-to-please-everyone approach as his use of the state name, is favored to win a second term. And in one of the country’s most competitive Senate races, Ms. McCaskill has struggled to pull away from Mr. Akin, despite his comments about “legitimate rape.” There have been occasional, fruitless, efforts to end the debate over the state name. In 1907, a resolution introduced in the state House to establish the “only true pronunciation as that received by the native Indians” — a third

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