It’s not unheard of for the widow of a political candidate to serve as a stand-in. A 1972 plane crash killed Louisiana lawmaker Hale Boggs. His wife, Lindy, replaced him, and served for several terms after. Hubert Humphries wife took his place in the senate when he died in 1978. More recently, Mary Bono replaced her husband, Sonny, in congress. And in Missouri, Jo Ann Emerson ran for and won her late husband’s seat in the 8th congressional district in 1996. M.U. political science professor Rick Hardy says “widow-replacements” offer name recognition, and can prevent a political fight when there are several stand-bys who also want the job. Jean Carnahan has been identified as the nominee, should her late husband Governor Mel Carnahan receive more votes for the U.S. Senate on election day.
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