Is Missouri’s Carnahan Legacy at an End?
August 11, 2012

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.

Carnahan & Clay Accuse Each Other of Telling ‘Whoppers’ at Radio Debate
July 30, 2012

(AP) – Debating a week before their Democratic primary, U.S. Reps. Russ Carnahan and William Lacy Clay competed to claim the liberal mantle Monday and accused one another of telling “whoppers” about the other’s actions and legislative voting records.

The congressmen also said they want to raise the minimum wage, though they incorrectly stated the current rate.

Clay and Carnahan debated Monday on KMOX radio and, despite sometimes-tense exchanges, pledged that the loser of the Aug. 7 primary will support the Democratic ticket in the November elections.

After the 2010 census showed Missouri’s population growth failed to keep pace with the nation, the state lost one of its nine congressional seats. Carnahan, whose current 3rd District was carved up and merged with nearby districts, chose to challenge Clay in the 1st District in St. Louis.

Clay said Monday that Carnahan should have run in a reconfigured suburban St. Louis district, which leans toward Republicans. Carnahan accused Clay of “throwing Democrats under the bus” by supporting the new redistricting plan enacted by Missouri’s Republican-led state Legislature.

“What my opponent has just said is really a whopper,” Clay responded. Clay said he issued a joint news release with Carnahan urging the Legislature to keep three congressional districts in the St. Louis region and – at Carnahan’s request – had urged a state lawmaker not to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the redistricting legislation.

That led Carnahan to retort: “That is a whopper,” and to assert that Clay’s allies had actively lobbied state lawmakers to override the veto, which they ultimately did.

Cleaver & CBC Call Holder Contempt Vote Silly
June 29, 2012

Kansas City Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, the head of the Congressional Black Caucus, called Thursday’s historic House vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, “silly”.
Cleaver and other members of the Black Caucus met before the vote.
Missouri Democratic Congressman Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan joined the CBC walk-out as a protest to the vote.
Politico reports “duringThursday’s contempt vote, CBC members plan to held a press conference on the steps of the Capitol to discuss job creation, according to a letter being circulated among members of Congress.

Republicans have accused Holder of failing to cooperate in the ongoing investigation of Fast and Furious, the botched gun-running program that allowed thousands of arms to cross the U.S.-Mexico border and end up in the hands of criminals. Holder has been criticized for refusing to hand over certain documents.

Cleaver,according to Politico, charged in his interview with CNN that accusing Holder of wrongdoing and trying to smear his reputation has nothing to do with the ongoing investigation and getting to the bottom of how U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed.

“Brian Terry’s parents and family members deserve to know what happened to their son. This does nothing about revealing what happened to their son,” the congressman said.

Nixon Picks Lacy Clay Over Russ Carnahan in StL Dem Primary
May 2, 2012

Seldom does the titular head of the state party take sides in a high-profile primary.
But, when it does happen, it’s hard to overstate the import.
U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, in his first competitive election in a dozen years, announced the support on Tuesday of Gov. Jay Nixon, dealing a mighty blow to the opposition.
Clay is locked in a primary battle with fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan over the right to represent a new merged St. Louis district carved out during redistricting.
In a statement distributed by the Clay campaign, Nixon called the congressman “a close personal friend.”
“For over 25 years, Lacy Clay has been a powerful voice for working families and a tireless advocate for the people of St. Louis,” Nixon said. “He’s the right man to continue serving the people of the First Congressional District and I fully support his re-election.”
Nixon’s endorsement not only provides Clay a major boost, it makes clear that, especially after an earlier endorsement of Clay by Mayor Francis Slay, the Democratic establishment is paying no deference to the Carnahan dynasty.
The endorsement may help Nixon with African-American voters — who, at times, have been wary of Nixon because of his attempt as attorney general to end desegregation efforts — but could force a splinter in other parts of the party that, heretofore, have been solidly behind Nixon.
Many of the party’s current leaders owe their careers to a Carnahan, whether it was working for Gov. Mel Carnahan in Jefferson City or former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan in Washington.
In 2008, Russ’ sister, Robin Carnahan, decided against challenging Nixon in the primary, giving him a clear path to the party’s nomination.

Read more:

StL Mayor Slay Endorses Clay, Calls Incumbent Primary “Too Bad”
February 29, 2012

Johncombest posts this statement from St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay on the Clay/Carnahan primary:
“It is my intention to support Lacy Clay in that election. I have had a great working relationship with State Senator, then US Representative, Clay over the years. His commitment to the City of St. Louis is deep and long-standing. Because of his experience, he fully understands the issues facing our City, and the people of our City.”

“It is my strong belief that the City’s many interests are better served by returning Lacy Clay to Congress in November 2012.”