District Battle: Carnahan, Clay Both File in 1st District
The two Missouri members of Congress will face off in the Aug. 7 primary.
Two longtime St. Louis politicians with long family histories of political involvement will face off in an August primary for the 1st District Congressional seat.
Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO), currently the 3rd District representative, has filed to run in the 1st District. Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) holds the 1st District seat. He also filed to retain his seat.
Filing for statewide offices opened this morning in Jefferson City at the Secretary of State's office.
Carnahan spoke to reporters at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport before boarding his flight to Washington, D.C.
Related Story: See video of Carnahan's press conference.
"I am fulfilling the pledge I made to run for re-election," he said. "I am going to continue to fight for the people of the St. Louis region."
Carnahan's 3rd District does not exist under current state maps. The legislative district maps were redrawn after the 2010 Census showed a population loss in Missouri. The most recent incarnation of the legislative maps is before the state Supreme Court now.
"I believe the districts are unconstitutional and expect a ruling on them from the Supreme Court," Carnahan said. "I will continue to fight so that these maps are drawn correctly."
Carnahan said he believes the St. Louis area deserves three Congressional districts. He noted that Missouri, a bellwether state usually divided down the middle politically, now has two Democratic-leaning districts and four Republican-leaning ones.
When asked if he thinks running against his colleague will be racially divisive, Carnahan put the question back on Clay.
"I think you need to ask Rep. Clay why he supported the Republican maps," Carnahan said. "This map diminishes the clout of the St. Louis region and diminishes the reputation of our Democratic districts."
He also noted that his district was one of the most racially diverse in the state. The majority of Carnahan's existing district—including his home—now falls into the 1st District.
"This is not the old 1st District," he said. "I look forward to a healthy debate that will energize and engage the party. Look what the contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton did in 2008."
Clay spoke with KWMU's St. Louis on the Air shortly after Carnahan's announcment. "I've never had to run a negative campaign in 29 years. I don't intend to start this time," Clay told host Don Marsh.