Russ Carnahan and Lacy Clay.
By Sharon Stevens
St. Louis City, MO (KSDK) - A few sparks, lots of politicking and a pledge to work together: all those things were part of the debate between the Democratic candidates in the hotly contested 1st Congressional district.
This was the only debate between Congressman Russ Carnahan and Congressman William 'Lacy' Clay Jr. before next week's primary election; two incumbent congressmen, one district.
Russ Carnahan and William 'Lacy' Clay Jr. were once allies; now they're fighting for their political lives.
It's the first and only debate between the sons of two prominent Missouri political families.
The sometimes lively debate on KMOX included charges by Russ Carnahan that Lacy Clay has supported the controversial payday lending industry.
At issue is a federal effort to regulate the business.
Clay's father, William Sr., represented the first district for more than 30 years and was a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus.
The late Mel Carnahan, Russ' father, was Missouri's governor. His grandfather was a congressman and his sister is Missouri Secretary of State.
Clay has represented the First District for 12 years. Carnahan has represented the Third District since 2005.
After the 2010 census, the Republican-controlled state legislature drew a new map; the second congressional district survived; Carnahan's third district was eliminated and essentially merged with Clay's first district.
Two popular Democrats face each other in next Tuesday's primary.
Both men say they feel pretty good about next week's election and they promised no matter who wins they'll be supportive of all Democrats. And then they shook hands.
Other candidates on the August 7 ballot include Democrat Candice Britton.
In the Republican primary, there's Martin D. Baker and Robyn Hamlin and also running is Libertarian Candidate Robb E. Cunningham.