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Another Carnahan in mix for Irish ambassador

Jean Carnahan, widow of Gov. Mel Carnahan, with her sons Tom Carnahan, left, and Russ Carnahan, right. (Kelley McCall/AP) Jean Carnahan, widow of Gov. Mel Carnahan, with her sons Tom Carnahan, left, and Russ Carnahan, right. (Kelley McCall/AP)

Lots of buzz in the Irish media about Tom Carnahan as President Obama’s choice to fill the long-empty slot for ambassador to the Emerald Isle.

Yes, you read that correctly — that’s Tom, the brother of Russ Carnahan, the former Missouri congressman who was first reported to be the leading candidate for the job.  Tom Carnahan is a businessman and a top Obama bundler (also the son of former Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan, who posthumously defeated John Ashcroft for a Senate seat).

Younger brother Russ was thought to be in line for the job, but he had reportedly removed his name from consideration.

Russ didn’t return our calls, and we couldn’t immediately reach Tom.

And even if Tom Carnahan winds up being Obama’s pick, the nomination could take a while. IrishCentral says Tom Carnahan’s name has “begun to circulate in White House circles.” The Irish Times reports that he’s “emerged as the leading candidate,” though he’s yet to go through the vetting process.

Any delay isn’t likely to sit too well with the Irish, who have been growing impatient with Washington as the embassy in Dublin collects cobwebs. The job has been sitting open since former envoy (and another big Obama donor) Dan Rooney left nearly a year ago.

But we hear it’s not a done deal yet — for Tom Carnahan or anyone. There are other candidates in the mix, including, we hear, Washington lawyer Mark Tuohey.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.

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