Magazine article American Banker

More of Industry's Money on Talent in Missouri Race

Magazine article American Banker

More of Industry's Money on Talent in Missouri Race

Article excerpt

From where he sits in Clinton, Mo., it looks to former American Bankers Association president James E. Smith that Senate challenger Jim Talent has a lot to offer the industry.

Mr. Talent, a Republican and former House lawmaker, is running against Democratic Sen. Jean Carnahan, the widow of former Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan, who died in a plane crash three weeks before the 2000 senatorial election. Mr. Carnahan's name stayed on the ballot, and Ms. Carnahan was appointed to begin his term in 2000 when he posthumously defeated Attorney General John Ashcroft, then the Republican incumbent, by 48,000 votes.

Missouri voters will decide in a special election Tuesday whether Sen. Carnahan or Mr. Talent will serve the remaining four years. It is one of the most closely watched races in the country.

Mr. Smith, the chairman and chief executive officer of Citizens Union State Bank and Trust in Clinton, acknowledged in making his assessment that neither candidate had taken stands on key financial services issues such as privacy, deposit insurance reform, or predatory lending.

But he said Mr. Talent had actively sought banking industry support and that Sen. Carnahan initially did not seek it.

Mr. Smith predicted that Mr. Talent would line up with Missouri's other senator, Republican Christopher "Kit" Bond, and said he is therefore a more attractive candidate to bankers.

According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, Mr. Talent's overtures paid off. Commercial banks have donated $83,595 to his campaign and $55,690 to Sen. Carnahan.

Citigroup Inc. contributed $31,560 to Sen. Carnahan while Goldman Sachs has given her $13,000. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter ponied up $13,000 for Mr. Talent, U.S. Bancorp $10,500.

Mr. Talent has received money from other sectors of the industry as well. …

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