Carnahan’s decision to back Kerry in her state February 3 primary is based in part on Kerry’s consistent use of attorney general John Ashcroft as an applause line in his campaign. Carnahan’s husband Mel succeeded Ashcroft as governor of Missouri and defeated Ashcroft in the 2000 Senate race in Missouri despite his death in a plane crash three weeks before the election.
Mel Carnahan and Ashcroft disliked each other, but the 2000 campaign furthered the bitterness after it became clear that Carnahan had won due to widespread voter fraud. The final insult came when Jean Carnahan was appointed to the seat of her dead husband.
Kerry, who now leads in most of the polls for the February 3 primaries, had targeted Missouri as a state to make some inroads when it appeared that South Carolina was out of his league.
Former Vermont Gov. Howie Dean had reached out to Carnahan for support but was rebuked.
Carnahan was apparently influenced by the decision of St. Louis mayor Francis Slay, who also has announced his intention to endorse Kerry. That endorsement ensures that much of the Democratic establishment in the Missouri’s urban centers will support Kerry.p> DESERTER LINES
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