11/06/2000 at 01:00 AM EST
Is this what Ralph Nader means when he says there's little difference between Republicans and Democrats? In Jasper County, Mo., the election for coroner is a bro-eat-bro battle between identical twins Ron Mosbaugh, 56, the incumbent, on the GOP line, and Democrat Don Mosbaugh.
Don steals—and alters—Ron's campaign posters. The two share the same campaign manager, and they are dead serious about the $15,200-a-year part-time office—but little else. "We have sympathy for the families and loved ones," says Don, who, like his brother, was a Navy medic. "We want to be sensitive but have fun with the campaign)."
Why the brothers are running against each other may have more to do with one-upmanship than ideology. Ron was originally appointed by Democratic Gov. Mel Carnahan to fill a vacancy, but is running as a Republican because that's where the votes are in Jasper County. And Don? Well, when he hinted to Ron that he was thinking of running as a Democrat, he says, "Ron laughed and said, 'Go ahead, but you'll lose.' You can't tell a twin brother that."
Born five minutes apart, both married with two daughters, the two have been friendly but fierce rivals all their lives. ("You should be here in the evening for their chess games," says Ron's wife, Connie.) So it's no surprise that the campaign has gone negative. "He says I weigh more," grouses Don, "and he says my hair's a little thin in the back."