Mel Carnahan died in the year 2000 during a campaign in which he was running for a U.S. Senate seat. He was elected posthumously, defeating Republican John Ashcroft. Mel Carnahan's widow Jean Carnahan became the state's new senator for two years. In 2005, Mel Carnahan's son Russ Carnahan (a Methodist) was elected to represent Missour in the House of Representatives.
From: "Tribute: Governor Mel Carnahan" on "Jeffersonian Women's Democratic Club" website (http://www.rollanet.org/~demojwdc/mrc.html; viewed 9 November 2005):
Mel Carnahan, 66, fifty-first Governor of the State of Missouri from Rolla, Missouri, died in an airplane crash on October 16, 2000, in rural Jefferson County, while on his way to a political event in New Madrid.From: Kate Miller and Lauren Shepherd (State Capital Bureau), "Jean Carnahan is no stranger to politics", in Missouri Digital News, 24 October 2000 (http://www.mdn.org/2000/STORIES/J.HTM; viewed 9 November 2005):
Governor Carnahan was running for the United States Senate, after two remarkably successful four-year terms as Governor. Among the major accomplishments of his administration were the Outstanding Schools Act, a comprehensive package of reforms, new resources and accountability measures to improve Missouri's public schools; major tax relief for working families; welfare reform; some of the toughest anti-crime laws in the nation; and primary health care services for thousands of previously uninsured Missouri children...
For the past 46 years, he has been married to his high school sweetheart, Jean Carpenter, from Washington, D.C., who paralleled Governor Carnahan's great success with her own as one of the most highly respected and popular First Ladies in Missouri history.
Governor Carnahan held a Bachelor's Degree in business administration from George Washington University and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia Law School in 1959 with the highest scholastic honors-Law Review and Order of the Coif. He was a United States Air Force veteran, a 33rd degree Mason, and a longtime member of the First Baptist Church in Rolla. He served as Chairman of both the Southern and Democratic Governors' Association...
Governor Carnahan will lie in state from 12 noon until 8 p.m. Thursday at the Missouri Governor's Mansion. Funeral services for Governor Carnahan will begin at 11:30 a.m. Friday, October 20, 2000 on the south lawn of the Missouri State Capitol. Governor Carnahan will also lie in state from 10 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. Saturday at the First Baptist Church of Rolla. Private family services and burial will be at the Carson Hill Cemetery in Ellsinore, Missouri...
Friends say Jean Carnahan was active in her own four children's lives, acting as homeroom mother, cub scout den mother and girl scout troop leader. She was involved in her church and in many civic activities including campaigning for tax levies aimed at public schools and libraries.From: Clayton Bellamy (State Capital Bureau), "Carnahan has read 'very little' Playboy", published 28 August 2000 in Missouri Digital News (http://www.mdn.org/2000/STORIES/PLAYMATE.HTM; viewed 9 November 2005):
"Whatever she puts her hand to she will do well," said Rolla friend Jamie G. Anderson.
Jean and Mel Carnahan have been partners since meeting at a Baptist youth group when she was 15 years old. The two courted through high school and attended George Washington University together, both earning bachelors' degrees in business admininistration and marrying in 1954.
Gov. Mel Carnahan, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate and a Baptist deacon, said Monday that he has read Playboy "very little," but declined to say if he also looked at the pictures.
The comment, in a light-hearted response to a reporter's question, comes about two weeks after Carnahan's foe, Sen. John Ashcroft, attacked the governor for accepting campaign donations from Playboy top-executive Christie Hefner, and about two weeks before Carnahan plans to attend a Hefner co-sponsored fundraiser.
When a reporter asked the governor if he read Playboy, Carnahan said, "very little."
The reporter then asked if he read it for the articles.
"I'm not going to go forth with that," Carnahan replied. Laughter tinted the exchange on both sides.
Much has been made of Hefner's donations, which total $2000, but little about why she gave Carnahan the money.
Hefner's "among a group of strongly pro-choice women in Chicago and those are the circumstances in which I met her," Carnahan said. Donors to his campaign "support my agenda. I don't support every agenda of everyone who supports me."
Carnahan supports abortion-rights, while Ashcroft is staunchly anti-abortion.