Carnahan: 50-60% 60-70% 70-80%
Ashcroft: 40-50% 50-60% 60-70% 70-80%
The 2000 United States Senate election in Missouri was held on November 7, 2000, to select the next U.S. Senator from Missouri. Incumbent Republican Senator John Ashcroft ran for a second term, but lost to Democratic Governor Mel Carnahan, despite Carnahan's death three weeks before election day.
In 1998, freshman Senator John Ashcroft (R) briefly considered running for president. On January 5, 1999, he announced that he would not seek the presidency and would instead seek a second Senate term in the 2000 election. Incumbent two-term Democratic Governor Mel Carnahan ran against Ashcroft.
In the general election for the state's seat in the U.S. Senate, Ashcroft was facing then-Governor Mel Carnahan in a highly competitive race, despite the Senator having a larger budget than Carnahan, a war chest that included significant contributions from corporations such as Monsanto Company, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, which gave five times more to Ashcroft's campaign fund than to the fund of any other congressional hopeful at the time.
Carnahan was killed in a plane crash three weeks before the November election date. Nonetheless, Carnahan's name remained on the ballot due to Missouri's election laws. Lieutenant Governor Roger B. Wilson became Governor upon Carnahan's death, to serve the remaining term of Carnahan's governorship. Ashcroft suspended all campaigning on the day of the plane crash in light of the tragedy and resumed it eight days before the election date.
The voters of Missouri, by a margin of approximately fifty thousand votes, chose for the U.S. Senate Mel Carnahan, their Governor who had died three weeks before the election. No one had ever posthumously won election to the Senate, though voters on at least three other occasions had until then chosen deceased candidates for the House of Representatives: Clement Woodnutt Miller (D) in California in 1962; Nick Begich (D) in Alaska, 1972; and Hale Boggs (D) in Louisiana, 1972.
Hence, John Ashcroft became the first ever U.S. Senate candidate, incumbent or otherwise, to be defeated by a dead man.
Governor Roger B. Wilson appointed Carnahan's 66-year-old widow, Jean Carnahan, to a two-year term as Missouri Senator. Ashcroft stated that he hoped the appointment would be "a matter of comfort for Mrs. Carnahan."
Asked by the media whether he would ever seek office again, Ashcroft responded, "The last thing I want to do is think about running for public office again." A professor of political science at the University of Missouri commented that the incumbent Senator lost the election because his candidacy was "overwhelmed" by a campaign of "emotion and symbolism."
In December 2000, John Ashcroft was chosen for the position of United States Attorney General by president George W. Bush and his nomination was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 58 to 42. He served from February 2, 2001 until February 3, 2005.
In 2002, a special election was held in Missouri for the remainder of the six-year term of the state's Senator. Jean Carnahan ran, but was defeated by Republican James Talent with a margin of approximately twenty-two thousand votes and percentages of 49.8% vs 48.6%.
|Democratic||Mel Carnahan +||1,191,812||50.5|
|Republican||John Ashcroft (incumbent)||1,142,852||48.4|
|Libertarian||Grant Samuel Stauffer||10,198||0.4|
|Natural Law||Charles Dockins||1,933||0.1|
|Democratic gain from Republican|