Carnahan makes her Senate campaign official

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Associated Press WriterWASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Jean Carnahan, the widow appointed to the U.S. Senate after her husband died in a plane crash, will run for the seat this year.

The news was no surprise; even before taking the oath of office, Mrs. Carnahan said she would seek to finish the six-year term if she felt she was accomplishing something. And she raised more than $2.3 million in campaign money before the year was half finished.

"I'll be making a formal announcement in the coming weeks," Mrs. Carnahan, 68, wrote supporters in a letter released Tuesday, "but I wanted you to know today that I will run for the U.S. Senate because I feel I am making an important difference for Missouri."

Appointed to serve after voters chose her late husband, Gov. Mel Carnahan, over incumbent Sen. John Ashcroft, Mrs. Carnahan must run for election in November. She will likely face Republican Jim Talent, 44, a former congressman from St. Louis who lost the race for governor to Democrat Bob Holden by about 21,000 votes.

In the two-page letter, Mrs. Carnahan emphasized her work on the Senate Armed Services Committee and her support for more military spending to strengthen U.S. national defense and battle terrorism around the world.

She also mentioned joining with a handful of moderate senators who shaped a compromise on President Bush's tax-cut plan. The centrists helped shave the amount to $1.35 million over 10 years and helped change how cuts were distributed to direct more tax relief to low- and moderate-income people and less to those with higher incomes.

She mentioned congressional action involving Missouri from airline and aeorospace interests to federal spending projects and help for struggling farmers. She also told supporters she is proud of adding measures proposed by her late husband to an education bill signed into law recently by President Bush.

"That is the record of accomplishment I intend to present to the voters of Missouri this year," she said. "And it's a record upon which I am proud to be judged."

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