JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Sen. John Ashcroft's itinerary has him dashing across Missouri at the end of a campaign that has taken an unusual twist in the aftermath of Gov. Mel Carnahan's death and his widow's pledge to carry his values to Washington.
Ashcroft was flying to rallies in six cities on the eve of the election, after stumping Sunday alongside former President George Bush and telling a national television audience of his determination to "carry forth on the issues."
The Republican is implicitly challenged by Carnahan's widow, Jean, who agreed to accept an appointment if her late husband outpolls Ashcroft. Mel Carnahan's death in a plane crash last month came after a deadline for changing Tuesday's ballot.
Carnahan has won the endorsement of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which said in an editorial Sunday that she and her husband had been devoted "to progressive values and a view of government that appeals to the better angels of our nature."
The Kansas City Star endorsed Ashcroft last week, saying he was more experienced.
Ashcroft said he "hasn't wasted one second" thinking about a legal challenge if he loses. The senator said on ABC's "This Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts" that "the people will settle this issue and I trust the people to do so."
Carnahan, who has never sought nor held elected office, told ABC in an interview taped last week that a legal challenge would be viewed in Missouri as an attempt to "thwart the will" of voters.
The program was the only political stage shared so far by Carnahan, 66, and Ashcroft, 58, although they had no interaction.
Carnahan's interview was just her second public appearance in a week; the first was a brief news conference announcing her acceptance of Gov. Roger Wilson's appointment offer.
She had no other public appearances scheduled through Election Day, Tony Wyche, spokesman for Mel Carnahan's campaign, said Sunday.
Some voters said they deserved to know more about the woman who could be senator.
"Just because she was his wife isn't enough. If my doctor died, I wouldn't want his wife to operate on me," said Bob Baysinger, 57, a land developer from Jefferson City who supports Ashcroft.
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