This past Thursday morning, St. Louis NPR station KWMU reported that Republican Scott Brown's victory in the Massachusetts Senate race could be "a shot across the bow for Robin Carnahan", the Democrat competing with Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt (MO-7) for retiring Senator Kit Bond's seat. The station said:
Speaking in St. Louis Republican Senator Kit Bond said Scott Brown's win in Massachusetts is further proof that voters do not support the President's agenda, from bailouts, to cash-for clunkers and most of all the healthcare overhaul. "It should be a wake-up call," said Bond. "People are tired of government takeover, government takeover, of government taxation. Anybody who is on the wrong side of this issue might want to consider it again."
It now appears that the polls are agreeing with Senator Bond. The Missouri Senate race is starting to move strongly in Roy Blunt's favor, no doubt due in large part to a gradual increase in unease with the Obama/Pelosi/Reid agenda. Today's numbers from Scott Rasmussen shows that Blunt has gained eight points on Carnahan, with Blunt leading 49%-43%. Last month, he trailed Carnahan by just two points.
Policy positions are critical in a campaign, and name recognition is a key component of success. Both the Blunt and Carnahan names are well-known around Missouri. But there is one name that's known more around Washington DC than the other, and you may be surprised to know whose name that is. Let's take a peek...
Robin Carnahan's grandfather, Albert Sidney Johnson (A. S. J.) Carnahan, was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1944-1946, and again from 1948-1960. He lost in 1960, and was appointed as Ambassador to Sierra Leone by JFK. So A.S.J. Carnahan spent over 16 years as a DC resident and significant player in DC Democrat party politics.
A.S.J. Carnahan's son, Mel Carnahan, was a prominent Missouri politician, serving as MO's Lt. Governor and Governor. In 2000, Mel ran for Senate against then-MO Att'y General John Ashcroft. Carnahan was tragically killed in a plane crash weeks before the election, but won anyway, as MO law did not allow his name to be removed from the ballot. Then-Lt. Gov Roger Wilson appointed Carnahan's wife Jean to serve in his place until a special election in 2002. Jean Carnahan lost to Jim Talent, who served the remaining four years of Jean/Mel's term. Mel obviously spent quite a bit of time in DC even prior to his Senatorial run, as he was a graduate of GWU, where he met Jean.
Mel and Jean Carnahan's son Russ Carnahan is currently serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing MO-3 (south portion of the St. Louis area, through Jefferson Co, to Ste. Genevieve. This is the same seat that Russ's Grandpa A.S.J. held (and he also serves as the vice chair of the International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight subcommittee - his grandpa's subcommittee). Russ is known as a reliable left-wing vote in Congress, and one of Russ's "Town Hall" meetings were the site of the notorious SEIU union thug beating of Kenneth Gladney. Russ's biggest accomplishment appears to be his nomination as "Porker of the Year" by CAGW. His tenure in the House has shown him to be rather hapless. He's earned the title "Low Maintenance Russ," a name supported by none other than Nancy Pelosi herself, based upon her comments that Russ is "not a high-maintenance type". Russ has a pretty solid reputation as one who blindly supports pretty much anything that Pelosi throws at him.
And that brings us to Russ's sister - Missouri's current Secretary of State, Robin Carnahan, the latest member of the Carnahan dynasty to seek office in DC. Some might think that Robin has no background in DC politics, but they would be wrong. Ms. Carnahan served as an "executive" with the Export-Import Bank of the United States and did work with the National Democratic Institute...both Washington, DC entities. In fact, she joined the Ex-Im Bank in 1993 - four years before her Senate competitor Blunt was elected to the House. We have a list of her addresses where she lived in DC, so she has had extensive presence there in the past. So while Robin Carnahan is currently a Missouri state official, she is no stranger to the DC world and culture.
It's surprising to hear accusations of Roy Blunt's family as any kind of "dynasty" when Congressman Blunt is the first of the family to spend significant time in DC, beginning with his election to the House in 1996. Contrast with the Carnahan family, who has significant DC presence back into the 1940s. Now who is the dynasty?
Robin Carnahan has yet to reveal much in the way of positions on key national issues. However, she's already been endorsed by unions and groups such as Emily's List, a pro-abortion political advocacy group. While she (unsurprisingly) has not explicitly stated her position on the bills in the Senate and House, she spoke out in praise of the bill passed in the Senate in December. She DID state earlier this year that we need to "get past Guantanamo" - a veiled approval of Obama's generally unpopular policy of moving prisoners and treating them as criminals rather than terrorists. She has held no campaign news conferences, issued no policy position statements, and has generally sequestered herself in the safety of her Jefferson City office. No one knows where she is or what she thinks. But based on her background, it is a pretty sure bet that she will continue to be an unfailing supporter of Barack Obama and his policies. If elected, Robin Carnahan would soon become known as "Rubber Stamp Robin" - as much of a lapdog to Barack Obama as brother Russ has been in the House to Nancy Pelosi and Obama.
Judging from the outcome of the Massachusetts Senate election, Robin's close ties to Obama policies and ideas during the election campaign will be a very bad thing for her. To characterize Robin Carnahan as some sort of "DC outsider" who will bring a "fresh view" to the seat is ludicrous. She is fully saturated with the DC mindset. She's lived it throughout her life. But the Carnahan DC Dynasty is about to come to an end.