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Top Democrats discuss 2006 race

April 20, 2005
By: Elizabeth Baird
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's office confirmed a web log report that the three statewide elected Democrats met Tuesday to discuss the U.S. Senate race in 2006.

The meeting, held in St. Louis, was confirmed by Carnahan's press secretary Stacy Temple.

"I can tell you that Secretary Carnahan and Jay Nixon (Attorney General), and Claire McCaskill (State Auditor) did meet in St. Louis over lunch to talk about various party building activities," Temple said. "The senate race was one of the topics."

Temple could not confirm any intentions of these party members to run for the seat.

An entry on the political blog www.archcitychronicle.com, dated from Tuesday, said although no decisions were made, McCaskill was believed to be the most desirable candidate according to democratic party polls. If McCaskill were to run for U.S. Senate, she would be unable to run for re-election for State Auditor.

Jim Talent, R-Missouri, has held the seat since beating Democrat Jean Carnahan in 2002 by a one percent margin.

Although no one has announced their intent to run for the seat, Sen. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, said he thought Talent's seat was vulnerable and that many Democrats, himself included, were looking into it.

"I'm just happy Democrats are sitting in a room talking about how do we find the right candidate and the one candidate to run in a race," Graham said. "Anything we can do to sort it out and have a clear feel of that I'd be supportive of."

Graham told the Associated Press that his desire for the seat went up when Talent signed onto anti-cloning legislation similar to that of Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee's Summit. Graham led the opposition to Bartle's bill, which was halted in the Missouri Senate when faced with dissent from both Republicans and Democrats.

Corey Dillon, executive director of the Missouri Democratic Party, said there is no definite candidate yet.

"One thing that is clear is that Missouri voters don't like what they're seeing from Jim Talent," Dillon said."People are worried about what they're doing to the state."

Although Graham may have expressed interest, his name would not be as well recognized as a statewide official.

McCaskill spokeswoman said she was unaware if the auditor planned on running against Talent. Last year McCaskill was defeated by Gov. Matt Blunt in the gubernatorial campaign. Efforts to speak to with McCaskill and Nixon were unsuccessful.

Graham's Chief of staff, Ted Farnen, said it was too early to speculate if Graham would oppose McCaskill should she pursue Talent's seat in 2006.