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Clay To Carnahan: “Let’s Get It On!”

Kevin Killeen
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Missouri Congressmen Russ Carnahan and William "Lacy" Clay Jr.

Missouri Congressmen Russ Carnahan and William “Lacy” Clay Jr.

Election Returns

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) –  Despite uncertainty over the districts, dozens of people have turned out to file for political offices in Missouri.

Tuesday marked the start of the candidacy filing period for the 2012 elections. It kicked off as planned, even though Missouri still lacks a final map for the state Senate districts and Missouri Supreme Court has yet to rule on challenges to the state and U.S. House districts.

The first to file Tuesday was Democratic U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan of St. Louis. He filed to run in the newly redrawn 1st District, which could set up a primary against Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay.

“Let’s get it on!,” was Clay’s response while speaking as a guest on KMOX’s Charlie Brennan program Tuesday morning.

Clay admitted he was a bit surprised that Carnahan did indeed to file to run in the 1st District, but said that had been the scuttlebutt in the rumor mill for the last few weeks.

“Voters will ultimately decide this in August (8/7),” Clay says, adding, “I’m confident that I will win.”

Russ Carnahan, whose former district was wiped out by redistricting mandated by the results of the 2010 census, says he wouldn’t have filed in Missouri’s new 1st District if he didn’t believe he could win.

But what about splitting Democrats during what promises to be a hotly-contested primary and allowing a Republican or some other candidate to win the 1st District in November?

“The vast majority of (Democrats) I’ve spoken with say that I’ve done right thing,” Carnahan, who was also a guest with Charlie Brennan, insists. “First of all I’ve made it clear I’m running for reelection but secondly, in this time of uncertainty, I’ve really led the fight to be sure that we get fair maps.”

Carnahan is among those hoping the Supreme Court still will strike down the new districts for Missouri.

If that happens, Carnahan said he is prepared to refile under new boundaries.

OUR EARLIER STORY:

Today marked the start of the candidacy filing period for the 2012 elections. It kicked off as planned, even though Missouri still lacks a final map for the state Senate districts and Missouri Supreme Court has yet to rule on challenges to the state and U.S. House districts.

The first to file Tuesday was Democratic U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan of St. Louis. He filed to run in the newly redrawn 1st District, which could set up a primary against Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay. Carnahan is among those hoping the Supreme Court still will strike down the districts. If that happens, Carnahan said he is prepared to re-file under new boundaries.

The National Journal rates Missouri Congresman Lacy Clay tied with 18 other congressmen for the “most liberal” ranking, while Missouri Congressman Russ Carnahan is ranked 139th most liberal.

The stark voting differences – as well as the potential for some to start playing the so-called ‘race card’ – will likely factor in to any primary battle between the two fellow Democrats. They’re still awaiting a court ruling on the redistricting that could throw them into a nominating fight against each other in August.

If they do face off, UMSL Political Science Professor Dave Robertson says the race won’t be pretty. “It could be kind of a bare knuckles fight,” according to Robertson. “If it gets really bad, it could even harm the other Democratic candidates on the ballot, like the governor and Senator McCaskill. They do not relish the prospect of two current incumbents, one white – one black, running in a congressional district that has had racial conflicts in the past. “

The way the map is drawn now, Carnahan would be trying to win the voting battle on what is mostly Clay’s home turf. “It’s going to be difficult for him to make up that lost electorate and become familiar to people,” Robertson says. “Carnahan will have some money, but Clay will, too. Clay is raising money in a way he hasn’t raised it in quite a while.”

But some political analysts point out Clay’s campaign machine is rusty around the gears, having hardly ever had to lift a finger to retain his seat, and that Carnahan has a stronger organization from his recent fight with challenger Ed Martin.

 

 

(KMOX © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. )

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