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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.

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"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."

The 1st District, as it is currently drawn, includes all of the city of St. Louis and some surrounding municipalities, including University City, Florissant and the Hazelwood.

does not exist under current state maps. The 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.

Ripped February 29, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Both of these candidates exemplify what is wrong with our system, both are crooked, bought and paid for establishment politicos that have overstayed their welcome. Time to vote them out.
Lemerson February 29, 2012 at 02:54 PM
I couldn't disagree more, Ripped. Clay has been very good for workers rights and the working class people. He has always had my backing. I have worked very hard and pounded the streets for both Jean and Russ Carnahan ...and a better political family you will not find. We need both Democrats in Congress so it is a really big shame that boundry lines will pit these two families against one another. I can bet you that the two of them are finding this very hard as well. It will be extremely disheartening if I have to turn on my TV and see them trashing one another.
democracy now February 29, 2012 at 03:51 PM
I've lived in Carnahan's 3rd district and now live in the 1st district. I haven't voted for either since they won office. I find them both to be legacy babies and won their districts on their family name. Nothing new in politics, I know, but I don't have to support it. I don't know who I will support in August. I wish Carnahan decided to take his chances and chose to run in the new 3rd district. Would serve the republicans right if their blalent gerrymanding attempt failed. I'm hoping that the courts will overrule the redistricting. It is ridiculous that the entire city is being lumped into one district just to eliminate a solid democratic district. Again I know this redistricting strictly by party lines is politics 101, but it doesn't make it right.
Candace Jarrett February 29, 2012 at 05:11 PM
With that being said, what's your plan for the primary Ripped?
Candace Jarrett February 29, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Politics can be tough Lemerson, for whom do you think you will pull?
Candace Jarrett February 29, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Democracy now, what will you do if it ends just being the two?

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