(Springfield, MO) -- When you step into the voting booth, you'll see a list of candidates. Each name represents a set of issues and positions and one of them will represent you.
But the names missing from the ballot tell a story of their own -- and that's especially true in Missouri this year.
Candidate filing closed Tuesday for the August primary in Missouri, with the exception of a few races.
We looked through the online records and found a lot of blank spots. And no candidate means parties are giving up, by default, in contests across the state.
"I've already been out sending out mailings, having fundraisers, knocking on doors," says retired postal worker Bob Rubino. He drives a school bus in his retirement and now he wants in to state politics. "I'm running for the 139th."
Before he can get a seat in the Missouri House, he'd have to win an election against one of two Republicans including Kevin Elmer who represents Christian County now. And that could make for a tough race.
"Talking to people, getting to know who they were, finding out what they're issues are."
Step away from Christian County and you won't find this kind of competition in a lot of places throughout the state. In fact, more than half of Missouri Senate and House races have a Republican or Democrat running unopposed -- at least from a candidate in the other major party.
"People generally are going to know the incumbent," says Dr. Brian Calfano, political analyst for KOLR/KOZL. "They're going to know that person's name and reputation more than they will any challenger. In most cases."
Making things more difficult for Democrats that don't have a majority in the state House or Senate.
The executive director of the Missouri Republican Party said in a statement, "Conservative candidates are in an incredibly strong position for the 2012 election."
According to our analysis of candidate primary filings, he's right. Democrats are not on the primary ballot in five state Senate races and 52 state representative races.
That essentially hands Republicans a majority in the Missouri Senate and will help them in the battle for the House.
"I'd suggest, even if you had the five Democrats, it'd still be uphill for them," adds Dr. Calfano.
Still, Republicans are also doing their share of staying off the ballot. GOP candidates haven't filed in four state Senate races and 30 House races.
Don't plan to see candidates such as Bob Rubino drop
out though; he says he's in it to win.
Be sure to check out Kevin Schwaller (@KevinSchwaller)'s political blog "The Memo" on OzarksFirst.com!