St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Carnahans have been on the ballot in Missouri for three generations, holding various state and federal posts for the better part of the last 68 years.
But the Democratic family’s name won’t adorn any public office next year, thanks to Rep. Russ Carnahan’s defeat Tuesday in the 1st Congressional District primary in St. Louis and Robin Carnahan’s decision not to seek re-election as Missouri’s secretary of state. Both will leave office in January.
Given the state’s increasingly Republican leanings and the thrashings the siblings have taken at the polls recently — Robin Carnahan lost the U.S. Senate race to Republican Roy Blunt in 2010 — is the family tradition nearing an end?
Though the Carnahans demur, others say the answer is yes, at least for the foreseeable future.
“It’s difficult to see how you would resurrect yourself from the back-to-back defeat of Robin Carnahan by such a sizable margin and the defeat of Russ Carnahan by an even more sizable margin,” said Terry Jones, a political science professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Even if the Carnahans tried again, other Democratic candidates would be unlikely to defer to them and could consider it time for a new face, Jones added.
The Carnahans themselves don’t rule out a comeback.
They note that the late Gov. Mel Carnahan, father of Robin and Russ, lost races for the state Senate in 1966 and governor in 1984 before winning the lieutenant governor’s office in 1988 and the governorship in 1992.
Recalling his father’s ups and downs, Russ Carnahan, 54, said in an interview Wednesday that “if you have a commitment to giving back to your community, I think you have a long view of how you do that.”
Carnahan, who was trounced 63 percent to 34 percent by Rep. William Lacy Clay on Tuesday, also repeated what he told his supporters after the election’s results were known: “For the rest, I’ll say, ‘Stay tuned,’ ” he said.
Robin Carnahan, 51, has been mum about her plans after January. She said in an interview this week that while she opted to leave the secretary of state’s office, “I’m young and Russ is young, so I don’t count this as an absolute end.”
Their political genes came from their father; their mother, Jean Carnahan, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate after her husband was elected posthumously; and their grandfather, A.S. J. Carnahan, who served in Congress from 1945-1946 and 1949-1960.
Is Missouri’s Carnahan Legacy at an End?
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: