Secretary of State Matt Blunt, Missouri’s election authority, has certified the results of the November 5th vote – making the outcome official. This clears the way for Jim Talent to take over as Missouri’s junior U.S. Senator, replacing Senator Jean Carnahan who went down to defeat at the polls. According to Blunt, 50,9 percent of Missouri’s registered voters participated in the election, compared to the last mid-term election in 1998 when 43 percent of registered voters went to the polls. Missouri used provisional ballots, this year, for the first time. Blunt says 3,603 provisional ballots were cast. 2,007 of those ballots were accepted and added to the total vote count.
Senator Jean Carnahan has delivered her farewell address from the floor of the U.S. Senate, commenting on her two years on Capitol Hill and the circumstances under which she went to Washington. Carnahan was appointed to the Senate following the posthumous election win of her husband, the late Governor Mel Carnahan. She was defeated at the polls earlier this month by former St. Louis area Congressman Jim Talent. In her speech, Carnahan said she is grateful to have served in the Senate, even for a short time, and to have served at a time when the country faced so many challenges. Talent is expected to be sworn-in as Missouri’s junior U.S. Senator sometime before Thanksgiving.
Officials in the Carnahan for Senate Campaign say a national trend toward Republicans led to their narrow defeat. Carnahan Campaign Manager Roy Temple says Democrats across the country flew into a strong Republican headwind. Roughly speaking, Carnahan won the metro areas, but lost to Talent in outstate Missouri. Carnahan won 77-percent of the St. Louis vote and 74-percent of the vote in Kansas City. She didn’t win vote-rich St. Louis County by a wide enough margin to catch Talent, though she did win more than 200,000 votes. Talent won 185,000 in St. Louis County. Talent won 58-percent of the vote in Springfield.
Talk ends today and Missouri voters decide who will represent them in the US Senate. Both Democrat Jean Carnahan and Republican Jim Talent want to return to Washington. Carnahan wants to win her US Senate seat in her own right. She was appointed to the seat won posthumously by her husband Mel Carnahan in 2000. Carnahan has focused on Social Security and health care and has pointed out she supported President Bush on tax cuts and Iraq. During a conference call with reporters, Carnahan stated she had done alot in her two years in Washington. Talent served eight years in the US House. He left Congress to run unsuccessfully for Governor two years ago. He has emphasized job creation and business development as well as health care. This has been a high-profile race that likely will break campaign finance records in the end. National leaders from both parties have criss-crossed the state on behalf of both candidates as Democrats and Republicans look to Missouri as a key to which party controls the Senate in Washington.
The race for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat was expected to remain tight right to the end of the campaign and that is exactly how things are turning out. Two recent polls make the race a toss-up. A Zogby International poll conducted for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gives both incumbent Democrat Senator Jean Carnahan and Republican challenger Jim Talent the support of 46 percent of those polled who said they are likely to vote, while 6 percent said they were undecided. Voters were surveyed Wednesday through Friday. A USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll conducted Wednesday through Saturday gives former St. Louis area Congressman Talent a slight lead among decided voters surveyed: 48 to 44 percent, with 8 percent undecided.
U.S. Senate candidate Jim Talent has scaled back campaign activities following the death of his father early Sunday. 91-year-old Milton Talent had been admitted to a St. Louis hospital a week ago after suffering what doctors thought was a mild stroke. Former Congressman Jim Talent, who is locked in a tight race with incumbent Senator Jean Carnahan for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat, was at the hospital when his father died. The death of his father prompted Talent to cancel campaign appearances Sunday and today. He had been scheduled to attend an event tomorrow in Springfield with former President George Bush. but it’s unclear whether that event will go on.
The death of Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota in a plane crash in northeastern Minnesota has prompted quick reaction from Missourians who have worked with Wellstone on Capitol Hill. Senator Carnahan, whose husband – the late Governor Mel Carnahan – died in a plane crash, says Wellstone was a friend of working families. Senator Bond says he’s lost someone he enjoyed being with when the two weren’t battling it out over political issues on the floor of the Senate. Republican Senate Candidate Jim Talent, a former Congressman, says his thoughts and prayers are with Wellstone’s loved ones during this difficult time.
The second and final debate in the race for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat is now history. Billed as a candidates’ forum involving all four U.S. Senate contenders, many observers in Columbia were squarely focused on the two main opponents – incumbent Democrat Jean Carnahan and Republican challenger Jim Talent. It wasn’t long before Carnahan took Talent to task for what she calls allegations that she is unpatriotic. She wagged her finger at Talent as she defended herself. Talent’s response: He never said the Senator is unpatriotic. He merely called into question her Senate votes on certain key issues. And, he says he’ll continue to do that. Topics addressed included oil exploration in Alaska: He’s for it, she’s against it; Raising the minimum wage: She’s for it, he’s against it; Confirmation of federal judges: Both stress the importance of competence; and reparations for descendants of slaves: Both oppose the idea. Joining the debate: Libertarian Tamara Millay and Green Party candidate Daniel “Digger” Romano.
From Massachusetts to Montana, political figures have been coming to Missouri – all in hopes of having an impact in this year’s US Senate race between Senator Jean Carnahan and challenger Jim Talent. Leading lawmakers from both parties have made stops in the Show-Me State, from the President to the leader of the Senate. In fact, one day saw five US Senators from four states stumping for the two major party candidates. Senator John Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts, came to Missouri to help Senator Carnahan. He says the national parties understand the importance of Missouri’s US Senate race. A sentiment Republican Senator Conrad Burns from Montana, who was in the state helping Republican candidate Jim Talent, echoes. He expects the makeup of the Senate to have a big impact, especially in the agriculture sector. And, Senator Bond says when he travels to other states to campaign for fellow Republicans, everyone wants to know how the campaign is going back home.
Missouri Democrats say they will comply with the AARP request to quit using its logo in their attacks against US Senate candidate Jim Talent. AARP Volunteer Advocacy Coordinator Bob Schmalfeld says the group is neutral in the Senate race and has not endorsed either candidate. And, he says the Democrats are not authorized to use the AARP logo. Missouri Democratic Party Executive Director Mike Kelley says the party has received a letter from the AARP about the literature in question. Kelley says the intention of the party was simply to highlight AARP opposition to a piece of legislation Talent sponsored as a Congressman.