United States Senate election in Missouri, 2000

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United States Senate election in Missouri, 2000
1994 ←
November 7, 2000 → 2002

  CarnahanMel.jpg John Ashcroft.jpg
Nominee Mel Carnahan
John Ashcroft
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,191,812 1,142,852
Percentage 50.5% 48.4%


County results

U.S. Senator before election

John Ashcroft

Elected U.S. Senator

Mel Carnahan

The 2000 United States Senate election in Missouri was held on November 7, 2000, to select the next U.S. Senator from Missouri. Incumbent Senator John Ashcroft lost re-election to Mel Carnahan, despite the fact Carnahan had died in a plane crash several weeks before election day.


In 1998, incumbent US Senator from Missouri John Ashcroft (R) briefly considered running for president but on January 5, 1999, he announced that he would not seek the presidency and would instead defend his Senate seat in his 2000 re-election.[1] Ashcroft was first challenged in the Republican primary, defeating Marc Perkel.[2]


Major candidates[edit]



Other Candidates[edit]


  • Evaline Taylor


  • Grant Samuel Stauffer


  • Hugh Foley

Natural Law[edit]

  • Charles Dockins


In the general election, Ashcroft faced a challenge from then-Governor Mel Carnahan. In the midst of a tight race, Carnahan died in an plane crash only two weeks before the November general election. However, Carnahan's name remained on the ballot due to Missouri state election laws. Lieutenant Governor Roger B. Wilson became Governor upon Carnahan's death. He announced that if Carnahan should, be elected he would appoint his widow Jean Carnahan to serve in his place, to which she agreed to this arrangement. Ashcroft suspended all campaigning after the plane crash in light of the tragedy.


General election results[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Mel Carnahan (Deceased) 1,191,812 50.5
Republican John Ashcroft (Incumbent) 1,142,852 48.4
Green Evaline Taylor 10,612 0.5
Libertarian Grant Samuel Stauffer 10,198 0.4
Reform Hugh Foley 4,166 0.2
Natural Law Charles Dockins 1,933 0.1
Write-ins Write-in candidates 13
Democratic gain from Republican


Voters elected Mel Carnahan, although dead, by a narrow margin. No one had ever posthumously won election to the Senate, though voters on at least three occasions chose deceased candidates for the House (Nick Begich, Hale Boggs, and Patsy Mink).

This loss was despite having a larger budget than Carnahan that included controversial contributions from corporations[citation needed] such as Monsanto Company (headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri), which contributed five times more to Ashcroft than to any other congressional hopeful at the time. He thereby became the first Senate incumbent ever defeated for re-election by a dead man's name on the ballot (it was understood that Mel Carnahan's wife, Jean Carnahan, would assume the position if he won election).

Although under Missouri law, Mel Caranahan could not legally win, since he was dead and therefore did not "live" in the state, and Ashcroft was the legal winner of the election (having received the most votes of the legally qualified candidates), Ashcroft did not contest the election certification of the Democratic Missouri Secretary of State.[citation needed]