Missouri Democrats: Keep It in the Family

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The Democrats will be calling on the widow. Eager to impress on Missouri voters that a vote for a dead man — Missouri governor Mel Carnahan, who was killed last week in a plane crash — is not a wasted one, interim governor Roger Wilson will ask Carnahan's widow, Jean Carnahan, to stand as her late husband's replacement for a two-year Senate term. If he wins.

"I talked to her this morning," Wilson told reporters Tuesday. "She thanked me for letting her know; she indicated that that was certainly a decision that she was not yet ready to make at this time, and I respect that."

There are some indications she'll say yes — could she already be a front-runner? Missouri Democrats say Carnahan's support has jumped over 50 percent posthumously, and of course his opponent, John Ashcroft, has been forced to wait out this race in the shackles of decorum — no attacks, no comparisons, no nothing. It's harder running against a departed opponent than you might think.

Certainly Missouri Democrats are VIPs this November. If turnout is lackluster, the state's gubernatorial, Senate and presidential electoral votes might all go Republican — and Missouri is extraordinarily good at picking presidents. Will they go for Jean Carnahan, in a spasm of humanity (or partisanship)? All reports indicate she's an extremely classy lady; certainly aspiring Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle would love to see her on the Hill in January.

"Many of us... think Mrs. Carnahan would do an extraordinary job," he said. "She's got the experience, she's been a stalwart defender and supporter of her husband's positions. I think she would make a remarkable United States senator."

Especially with that "D-Mo." next to her name.