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Clay and Carnahan disagree on impact of primary race

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)
U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-St. Louis) and William "Lacy" Clay (D-St. Louis) (R).

Missouri congressmen Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan have some differences of opinion when it comes to the potential political impact of their Democratic primary battle. 

Both are running for the Democratic nomination in the 1st congressional district, which Clay has represented since 2001. Carnahan decided to challenge Clay after Carnahan’s south St. Louis city and county district was split up following the 2010 census. Clay calls the situation “unfortunate".

"It doesn’t do us any good in Missouri to have two incumbent Democrats running for the same seat. There were other options for my opponent. Remember, I only got 20 percent of his district. His district was split three other ways," Clay told St. Louis Public Radio's Don Marsh Thursday.

Carnahan disagrees, saying his challenge of Clay is not unhealthy for the Democratic Party. He likens it to two teammates competing for the same starting position. 

Carnahan says Clay is partially responsible for the situation. He says Clay sided with Republicans when Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the GOP-drawn map.

"You know it’s clear from his contacts, he and his allies contacting state legislators, the governor’s office, public filings that his lawyers made in the redistricting case and his failure to really engage in that fight," Carnahan said. "The historic record of that will be very clear."

Clay has denied those accusations.

Clay and Carnahan were guests on the “St. Louis on the Air” program Thursday.

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