Pete Abel pens an original piece of reporting about the state of Missouri, its special status as the swing state to end all swing states and the party-crossing voters who could help shape the next 4 years.

Of special interest to Donklephant readers, I assisted Pete in compiling interviews and research for the article.

From TMV:

ST. LOUIS — Other than his years at law school in Washington, D.C., plus a couple more in an apartment near the St. Louis city limits, Ned Lips has lived in the predominantly conservative western suburbs of St. Louis County, Mo. Lips, 48, claims he has been a Republican since birth. This November, he plans to vote for Barack Obama.

Kathleen Verzani, 60, hails from Warrenville, Ill., about 30 miles west of downtown Chicago. She says she has been a Democrat for 40 years and party election judge for 28. In November, she also plans to defy geography and party — to vote for John McCain. In fact, she has moved in temporarily with her daughter in St. Charles, Mo., to work on McCain’s campaign here.

Unlike Illinois, Verzani believes “Missouri is really going to be a competitive state.” Missouri is also a contender for the title: “Bellwether of Bellwethers.”

Read the rest over at The Moderate Voice. It a fantastic piece of citizen journalism.

Politics Special Report: Voter Defiance in the Missouri Bellwether