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2002 United States Senate special election in Missouri

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2002 United States Senate special election in Missouri

← 2000 November 5, 2002 2006 →
Jim Talent official photo.jpg
Jean Carnahan.jpg
Nominee Jim Talent Jean Carnahan
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 935,032 913,778
Percentage 49.8% 48.7%

County Results

Talent:      40-50%      50-60%      60-70%      70-80%

Carnahan:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%

U.S. senator before election

Jean Carnahan

Elected U.S. Senator

Jim Talent

The 2002 United States Special Senate election in Missouri was held on November 5, 2002 to decide who would serve the rest of Democrat Mel Carnahan's term, after he died while campaigning and posthumously won the 2000 election. The winner would serve four more years until the next election in 2006. Missouri Governor Roger Wilson appointed Carnahan's wife Jean, also a Democrat, to serve temporarily. She then decided to run to serve the remainder of the term, but was narrowly defeated by Republican nominee Jim Talent. Technically, the race flipped control of the Senate from Democrats to Republicans, but the Senate had adjourned before Talent could take office and so no change in leadership occurred until the 108th Congress opened session on January 3, 2003.[1]


In the November 2000 elections, Democratic Governor of Missouri Mel Carnahan, who had died in a plane crash three weeks before, remained on the ballot for election to the U.S. Senate. Carnahan received more votes than his Republican opponent, incumbent Senator John Ashcroft, who did not legally contest being defeated by a dead candidate. Lieutenant Governor Roger B. Wilson ascended to serve the remaining three months of Carnahan's gubernatorial term, and promised to appoint Carnahan's widow in her husband's place should Carnahan posthumously defeat Ashcroft. Accordingly, Jean Carnahan was appointed to the Senate effective on January 3, 2001; and a special election was scheduled in 2002 for the balance of Carnahan's Senate term.[2][3]

The Seventeenth Amendment requires that appointments to the Senate last only until a special election is held.

Democratic primary



Democratic primary results[4]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jean Carnahan (incumbent) 368,149 83.22
Democratic Darrel D. Day 74,237 16.78
Total votes 442,386 100.00

Republican primary


  • Scott Craig Babbitt
  • Doris Bass Landfather, St. Louis alderman and perennial candidate
  • Martin Lindstedt, perennial candidate
  • Joseph A. May, dentist
  • Jim Talent, former U.S. Representative and nominee for Governor in 2000


Republican primary results[4]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jim Talent 395,994 89.58
Republican Joseph A. May 18,525 4.19
Republican Doris Bass Landfather 14,074 3.18
Republican Scott Craig Babbitt 7,705 1.74
Republican Martin Lindstedt 5,773 1.31
Total votes 442,071 100.00

Libertarian primary


  • Tamara A. Millay, perennial candidate
  • Edward Joseph Manley


Libertarian primary results[4]
Party Candidate Votes %
Libertarian Tamara A. Millay 1,942 59.35
Libertarian Edward Joseph Manley 1,330 40.65
Total votes 3,272 100.00

General election


  • Jean Carnahan (D), incumbent U.S. Senator
  • Tamara Millay (L), perennial candidate
  • Daniel Romano (G)
  • Jim Talent (R), former U.S. Representative and nominee for governor in 2000


National security and Carnahan's vote against fellow Missourian John Ashcroft as attorney general were major issues in the campaign. Republicans argued Carnahan owed her vote to Ashcroft, who had lost his bid for re-election to the Senate to Carnahan's husband.[5] Talent, citing Carnahan's votes against homeland-security legislation and missile defense, accused her of being soft on national security, which she objected to, saying he was "doubt[ing] her patriotism."[6]

Jack Abramoff contributed $2,000 to Talent's 2002 senatorial campaign[7] and Preston Gates & Ellis, a former Abramoff employer, had also contributed $1,000 to Talent's campaign.[8] Talent later returned both contributions.[9] Talent's win returned Republican control of the Senate which had been under slight Democratic dominance resulting from Vermont junior senator Jim Jeffords's decision to renounce the Republican Party, turning independent and making the choice to caucus with the Democrats.

Talent's victory wasn't certified until November 21, 2002, one day before Congress adjourned, which prevented them from claiming a senate majority. He automatically became a Senator the following day because, under federal law, he formally took office the day after both chambers of Congress adjourned. Because Republicans would hold the majority in the following congress, they saw no need to hold a special session in the 107th to take advantage of their brief majority.[10][11]


General election results[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jim Talent 935,032 49.80% +1.41%
Democratic Jean Carnahan (incumbent) 913,778 48.67% -1.80%
Libertarian Tamara A. Millay 18,345 0.98% +0.55%
Green Daniel Romano 10,465 0.56% +0.11%
Majority 21,254 1.13% -0.94%
Turnout 1,877,620
Republican gain from Democratic Swing

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Witcover, Jules (October 18, 2000). "In Mo., tragic loss for Democrats". Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  3. ^ "Governor's Widow Goes to Senate". December 6, 2000. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Official Election Returns State of Missouri Primary Election". Office of Secretary of State, Missouri. August 21, 2001. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  5. ^ Horner, William T. Showdown in the Show-Me State: The Fight over Conceal-and-carry Gun Laws in Missouri. Page 159. University of Missouri Press, 2005. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  6. ^ Expectations Game Plays for Both Mo. Senate Candidates. Fox News. October 22, 2002. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 8, 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 8, 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Vlahos, Kelley Beaucar (November 7, 2002). "After the Celebration: What Can a GOP Senate Do?". Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  11. ^ Mannies, Jo (November 22, 2002). "It's official: With election results certified, Talent will be a senator starting Saturday". St. Louis Dispatch.
  12. ^
This page was last edited on 15 February 2021, at 20:33
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