The presidential election wasn’t the only nail-biter in our fair land. There was the Missouri Senate race which had been hard fought for months when, just weeks before Election Day, Governor Mel Carnahan died in a terrible plane crash.
Senator John Ashcroft suspended his campaign as people mourned. But Carnahan remained on the ballot. His widow announced she’d go to Washington in his place. On November 7th by the slimmest of margins and with allegations of voter fraud and irregularities in Democratic strongholds Carnahan won.
Senator Ashcroft could probably have sued, probably won, and probably stayed in the U.S. Senate. A deceased person obviously cannot meet the legal requirements to be on the ballot. But Ashcroft gracefully declined to contest the election. Instead, he offered congratulations, seeking to unite the people of Missouri he was still pledged to serve. Perhaps it all comes down to there being something more important to John Ashcroft than being a U.S. Senator.
I had the privilege of working with Senator Ashcroft in Washington. So many politicians give lip service to term limits, but never lift a finger behind the scenes to advance the cause. Senator Ashcroft was different. He and his staff constantly had new ideas and rolled-up sleeves. John Ashcroft served under term limits as Attorney General and as Governor. He believed they helped him stay focused and energetic. When he went to the U.S. Senate, he voluntarily pledged to limit himself to two terms in office. Like all great leaders, Ashcroft leads by example.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.