Two Political Scions Advance In Missouri

By John Celock

Members of three of the most famous families in Missouri politics will appear on the Show Me State’s ballot in November.

Tuesday’s primary included wins for former U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor and attorney Jay Ashcroft in the Republican primary for secretary of state. Both are the sons of former governors and U.S. senators. They join U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R), the father of a former governor, on the November ballot.

In the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, Carnahan captured 76 percent of the vote to easily defeat his two little known opponents. Carnahan’s run for lieutenant governor is a come back effort on his part and the part of his family, which has been well known in Missouri politics for decades. Carnahan, who was defeated for a fifth term in Congress representing the St. Louis area in 2012, is the son of former Gov. Mel Carnahan (D) and former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan (D). Mel Carnahan, who also served as state treasurer and lieutenant governor, defeated Sen. John Ashcroft (R) in 2000, several weeks after Carnahan’s death. Jean Carnahan was appointed to the Senate seat in her late husband’s place but was defeated in a bid for the remainder of the term in 2002.

Mel Carnahan’s father, A.S.J. Carnahan, served seven terms in Congress and was the U.S. ambassador to Sierra Leone in the Kennedy Administration. Russ Carnahan’s sister, Robin, served two terms as secretary of state and unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010.

Russ Carnahan will face off against the Republican nominee, Senate Majority Whip Mike Parsons, in November. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R) did not seek a fourth term in order to pursue an unsuccessful run for governor.

Jay Ashcroft easily defeated Sen. Will Kraus with 61 percent of the vote to 35 percent for Kraus and four percent for Roi Chinn to capture the GOP nod for secretary of state. Ashcroft, an attorney who unsuccessfully sought a state Senate seat in 2014, is the son of John Ashcroft. John Ashcroft served one term in the U.S. Senate, two terms as Missouri’s governor, along with stints as state attorney general and state auditor. Following his 2000 loss to Carnahan, he served as U.S. attorney general under President George W. Bush.

Jay Ashcroft faces Democrat Robin Smith, a former television news anchor in November. Secretary of State Jason Kander (D) is the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate this year.

Roy Blunt is facing off against Kander for his second term. Blunt has had a long history in Missouri politics, including serving two terms as secretary of state in the 1980s. He lost a GOP primary for governor in 1992, a race eventually won by Mel Carnahan to succeed the term limited John Ashcroft. Blunt later came back to win a Congressional seat before getting elected to the Senate in 2010, defeating Robin Carnahan.

Blunt’s son, Matt, served one term as governor from 2005 to 2009 and one term as secretary of state from 2001 to 2005.