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Honeymoon may be over for Senator Carnahan

Since JEAN CARNAHAN defeated Senator John Ashcroft in Missouri's Senate race, Republicans have been uncomfortable going after the woman who stepped in to take up her husband's campaign following his death in a plane crash. But the G.O.P. is changing its widow treatment; she is now considered a target for 2002. (Carnahan must run in 2002 since it was her husband who was elected; she was only appointed.) G.O.P. polls in Missouri show that Carnahan runs even, at 43%, against former Congressman JAMES TALENT. Against Representative JO ANN EMERSON, Carnahan leads by 9%, but partisans point out that Emerson is not well known. Neither has announced intentions to run, but Republicans hope the numbers, and Carnahan's 29% unfavorable rating, will encourage one of them. What changed? "The Ashcroft vote turned her into a politician," says a Republican Senate source of her vote against Ashcroft's appointment for Attorney General. Democrats concede that her vote sparked the opposition, but, a source says, "the dip is related to that vote, which means it's likely to be transitory."



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Cover Date: March 26, 2001

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