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Dougan is still bothered that state committees -- Democratic ones, too -- sullied the campaign with so much negative advertising. "If the big boys want to do it, fine, but it shouldn't come down home," Dougan tells the Pitch. "'Liberal Larry,' where did they get that?"
Closer to the ground, Dougan was also stalked by photographers. On the first occasion, he was walking in Maryville's fall parade. Dougan says he became annoyed when a young man got within a few feet of his face as he tried to shake hands. "Did you get a good one?" Dougan says he asked the photographer.
"Yeah, I got a bunch of them," the photographer replied.
Dougan says that at the end of the parade, he saw Roe and others wearing Graves gear. The Graves team, he says, taunted Dougan and his supporters with a You're gonna lose! refrain.
A few months later, former Missouri Lieutenant Governor Roger Wilson appeared with Dougan at a Nodaway County seniors' center. A college-age man took pictures throughout the event. Dougan says he asked Wilson at one point, "Is he one of yours?"
"No, I thought he was one of yours," Wilson replied.
Wilson later introduced himself to the young man and asked if he worked for the newspaper at the local state college.
"No, I work for Brad Lager," he answered, according to Dougan.
The reply displeased Wilson. He rebuked the young man, telling him that by participating in such campaign tactics, he might harm his future in politics. Kay Wilson, publisher of the Nodaway News Leader and no relation to the former lieutenant governor, attended the event. She describes Wilson's lecture as "a real talking-to."
Like Dougan, Kay Wilson says she was disturbed by the way Lager's campaign seemed to be directed by Graves for Congress and the Missouri Republican Party. "We here in rural America see those tactics at the Washington, D.C., level, but we don't need to see it come down to a three-county state representative's race," she tells the Pitch.
"I'm a Republican by birth and by choice, but I see this as a true machine."
Other northwest Missouri Democrats make complaints similar to Dougan's.
G. Spencer Miller, who ran for prosecutor in Nodaway County in 2002, named Graves in a defamation lawsuit. Miller objected to a full-page ad that the Republican 6th District Congressional Committee placed in a Maryville newspaper.
The ad called Miller a carpetbagger and said he wasted tax dollars. He later withdrew the lawsuit, but his disgust remains. "It's a real pit," he says of Graves' political operation. "My impression is, they hurt you and hurt you real bad."
State Rep. Jim Whorton, a Trenton Democrat, says he's seen the Graves squad get physical, literally butting in when his campaign workers have tried to pass out literature along parade lines. "They're just generally a bunch of bullies," he says.
In other circumstances, jostling along a parade line might be dismissed as the work of overly enthusiastic youths. But when Roe is involved, obnoxious behavior is a recurring tactic.
Whorton says he went to the car lot he owns one Sunday during the last campaign to do some paperwork and saw Roe and Patek pressed against the glass window of his campaign office, which was nearby. Whorton says they were probably trying to catch a glimpse of whatever paperwork and poster board might have been visible.