Hard feelings evident among Russ Carnahan and William Lacy Clay

5:53 PM, Feb 28, 2012   |    comments
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  • Congressman Russ Carnahan. (D-Missouri)
  • Representative Lacy Clay. (D-Missouri)

By Mike Rush

St. Louis (KSDK) - Two political power houses in Missouri's Democratic Party, who have worked together on issues for years, are now political rivals.

With his district carved up by re-drawn boundaries, Congressman Russ Carnahan is setting his sights on longtime District One Congressman Lacy Clay's seat. And both men are gearing up for a dirty fight.

The new District One encompasses all of the city of St. Louis. Both congressmen want the job and they're wasting no time attacking each other.

Learning that his one-time political friend, Russ Carnahan, is now a political foe, Lacy Clay quoted singer Marvin Gaye.

"Let's get it on," said Clay.

But it's clear, there's a sour tone between the men, two long-time incumbents, now vying for the same district seat.

"And I've helped him in the last election cycle, giving money and support, so it's disappointing," said Congressman Clay.

Carnahan, who lost his district to redistricting, is hoping the Missouri Supreme Court will throw out the new map.

"Chaos seems to be the new normal in our state politics today," said Carnahan Tuesday.

But in the meantime, he's qualifying in the district where he lives. It contains all of St. Louis and north county.

It's about 80 percent the district Clay has represented for a dozen years. Carnahan says Clay can take partial responsibility for matchup.

"You should ask Congressman Clay why he supported the republican map that merged the core base of my district in with his," said Carnahan.

Clay said he did what he could and spoke out against the redrawn map. "Mr. Carnahan seems to have had a lapse in memory," said Clay.

"It creates more tension among democrats," said Newschannel 5 Political Analyst Dave Robertson.

He says the race has the potential to divide the state democratic party, especially along racial lines.

"Clearly there's going to be a white and an African American candidate and, you know, they're going to try to attract their constituents. Carnahan's old constituents, Clay's continuing constituents," said Robertson.

The mudslinging has already begun between the two. Clay says when he went to file for re-election Tuesday, the secretary of state's office could not find him on the registered voter list.

The secretary of state is Russ Carnahan's sister, Robin. Clay implied there might have been a little family help there.

A spokesperson for the secretary of state said it was a simple mistake. They looked up Lacy Clay instead of his full name William Lacy Clay, Junior.

Meanwhile, the Missouri Supreme Court could decide any day now whether to uphold or throw out the redrawn boundaries.


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