Jan. 22 (Wednesday)

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 Melvin Eugene “Mel” Carnahan
Full Name: Melvin Eugene “Mel” Carnahan
Born: Feb. 11, 1934 in Birch Tree, Missouri
Died: Oct. 16, 2000 in Jefferson County, Missouri

Mel Carnahan was an American politician who served as the 51st Governor of Missouri (1993-2000) before being elected posthumously to the U.S. Senate after he was killed in a plane crash. The circumstances of Carnahan’s death make him of interest to conspiracy theorists.

The media reported it as a simple plane crash during a rainstorm on October 16, 2000. But the timing is a little curious. Carnahan was running for Senate against the incumbent, John Ashcroft, in a heated campaign. The crash occurred the night before a presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, just three weeks before the election. Moreover, Carnahan was a Democrat.

Two years later, another Democrat, Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone, was killed in a plane crash just eleven days before an election he was projected to win. Carnahan and Wellstone were also progressive Democrats. In fact, Wellstone was regarded as the most progressive member of the Senate.

One observer notes that, if Carnahan and Wellstone had both survived and won election, the U.S. Senate would have consisted of 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans and one independent. Instead, the balance for the years 2002-2004 was 51 Republicans, 48 Democrats and one independent. In other words, their deaths gave the Republicans control of Congress.

Missouri law allowed Carnahan to be elected even though he was dead. His wife was appointed Senator, while John Ashcroft joined George W. Bush’s administration as U.S. Attorney General.