United States Senate special election in Missouri, 2002

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United States Senate special election in Missouri, 2002
2000 ←
November 5, 2002 → 2006

  Jim Talent official photo.jpg Jean Carnahan.jpg
Nominee Jim Talent Jean Carnahan
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 935,032 913,778
Percentage 49.8% 48.7%


County results

U.S. Senator before election

Jean Carnahan

Elected U.S. Senator

Jim Talent

The 2002 United States Special Senate election in Missouri was held on November 5, 2002 to decide who would serve the rest of Senator Mel Carnahan's term, after he died. The winner would serve four more years until the next election in 2006. Roger Wilson appointed Carnahan's wife Jean to serve temporarily. She then decided to run to serve the remainder of the term. Republican nominee Jim Talent defeated her narrowly.


In the November 2000 elections, Mel Carnahan, who had died in a plane crash three weeks before, remained on the ballot for election to the Senate. Carnahan received more votes than his Republican opponent, John Ashcroft, who did not legally contest being defeated by a dead candidate. Carnahan's successor as Governor, Roger B. Wilson, fulfilled his pre-election promise to appoint Carnahan's widow in her husband's place.

The Seventeenth Amendment requires that appointments to the Senate last only until a special election is held.

Democratic primary[edit]



Democratic primary results[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jean Carnahan (Incumbent) 368,149 83.22
Democratic Darrel D. Day 74,237 16.78
Total votes 442,386 100.00

Republican primary[edit]


  • Jim Talent, former U.S. Congressman and 2000 Republican nominee for Governor
  • Joseph A. May, dentist
  • Doris Bass Landfather, St. Louis alderman, perennial candidate
  • Scott Craig Babbitt
  • Martin Lindstedt, perennial candidate


Republican primary results[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jim Talent 395,994 89.58
Republican Joseph A. May 18,525 4.19
Republican Doris Bass Landfather 14,074 3.18
Republican Scott Craig Babbitt 7,705 1.74
Republican Martin Lindstedt 5,773 1.31
Total votes 442,071 100.00

Libertarian primary[edit]


  • Tamara A. Millay, perennial candidate
  • Edward Joseph Manley


Libertarian primary results[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Libertarian Tamara A. Millay 1,942 59.35
Libertarian Edward Joseph Manley 1,330 40.65
Total votes 3,272 100.00

General election[edit]


  • Jean Carnahan (D), incumbent U.S. Senator
  • Tamara Millay (L), perennial candidate
  • Daniel Romano (G)
  • Jim Talent (R), former U.S. Congressman and 2000 Republican nominee for Governor


National security and Carnahan's vote against fellow Missourian John Ashcroft as attorney general were major issues in the campaign. Republicans argued Carnahan owed her vote to Ashcroft, who had lost his bid for re-election to the Senate to Carnahan's husband.[2] Talent, citing Carnahan's votes against homeland-security legislation and missile defense, accused her of being soft on national security, which she objected to, saying he was "doubt[ing] her patriotism."[3]

Jack Abramoff contributed $2,000 to Talent's 2002 senatorial campaign[4] and Preston Gates & Ellis, a former Abramoff employer, had also contributed $1,000 to Talent's campaign.[5] Talent later returned both contributions.[6] Talent's win returned Republican control of the Senate which had been under slight Democratic dominance resulting from Vermont junior senator Jim Jeffords's decision to renounce the GOP, turning independent and making the choice to caucus with the Democrats.


General election results[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jim Talent 935,032 49.80% +1.41%
Democratic Jean Carnahan (Incumbent) 913,778 48.67% -1.80%
Libertarian Tamara A. Millay 18,345 0.98% +0.55%
Green Daniel Romano 10,465 0.56% +0.11%
Majority 21,254 1.13% -0.94%
Turnout 1,877,620
Republican gain from Democratic Swing


  1. ^ a b c "Official Election Returns State of Missouri Primary Election". Office of Secretary of State, Missouri. 21 August 2001. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  2. ^ Horner, William T. Showdown in the Show-Me State: The Fight over Conceal-and-carry Gun Laws in Missouri. Page 159. University of Missouri Press, 2005. Retrieved 2015-04-27.
  3. ^ Expectations Game Plays for Both Mo. Senate Candidates. Fox News. 2002-10-22. Retrieved 2015-04-27.
  4. ^ http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/can_ind/S2MO00353/1/A/
  5. ^ http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/can_give/S2MO00353
  6. ^ http://www.citizensforethics.org/filelibrary/HotlineListofReturnedDoations01.06.06.pdf
  7. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/electionInfo/2002/2002Stat.htm#25