After taking leadership of the Missouri Republican Party last weekend, conservative firebrand and perennial candidate Ed Martin offered words to his supporters that could pretty much sum up his entire approach to politics.
“We are surrounded, but as the great Marine Chesty Puller noted, being surrounded simplifies the situation. We can advance in any direction,” Martin wrote — in typically militant language — in a letter to supporters Tuesday. “Mount up.”
Martin might seem a strange choice to lead a state party that recently lost the most winnable Senate race in the country because the voters deemed its nominee too far right.
Martin is, after all, from the same cultural conservative, anti-establishment, Tea Party wing of the Missouri GOP as former Senate candidate Todd Akin. And Martin lost his own race in November, for Missouri attorney general, by a similarly wide margin as Akin.
Despite that backdrop, and other baggage from his often-tumultuous career in and around Missouri politics, Martin on Saturday narrowly won a vote of the Missouri Republican State Committee to unseat Missouri Republican Party Chairman David Cole.
The news stunned many in Missouri politics. Some say Martin’s aggressive, sometimes abrasive brand of conservatism — along with two high-profile campaign failures of his own — make him an unlikely leader of a party that lately has had problems both with keeping the peace internally and winning statewide elections.
“He is controversial within the party. … He’s made a lot of enemies,” said Ken Warren, a political scientist at St. Louis University with Democratic Party ties. “I’m very surprised that the Republican Party would pick someone to chair the party who is so divisive.”
If so, those Republicans for the most part aren’t breaking ranks, despite the narrow 34-32 Republican committee vote.
Among Cole’s supporters was U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. Asked about Martin’s victory, Blunt on Tuesday issued a one-sentence written statement: “I congratulate Ed and look forward to working with him.”
That was the double-edged sword that conservatives found themselves holding last year when they boosted Akin past two better-funded GOP establishment candidates to win the Senate nomination against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., then considered the most vulnerable senator in the nation.
While Akin’s religiously infused conservatism and no-exceptions opposition to abortion sat well with his supporters, it cut the other way after Akin’s comments in August about “legitimate rape” and pregnancy. The comments — rooted in an old anti-abortion movement myth that rape cannot cause pregnancy — created a national firestorm and, by most accounts, cost Akin the election.
That’s not Martin’s account, however. In an interview Tuesday, he argued that the lesson from Akin’s loss wasn’t that he was too conservative but that he was underfunded.
“What we know in retrospect … is that the Republican Party was outspent by $20 million,” Martin said. He acknowledged that the reason Akin couldn’t raise as much money as McCaskill was “partly from what happened” with the rape comments.
Martin’s tenure in Missouri politics has often been controversial. A former commercial lawyer, he was former Republican Gov. Matt Blunt’s chief of staff in 2007 when he fired Scott Eckersley, a lawyer under him, after Eckersley warned that the administration was improperly destroying email records.
JEFFERSON CITY • Missouri incumbents prevailed in their campaigns for statewide office Tuesday, while Democrat Jason Kander appears to have won the wide-open secretary of state’s race after unofficial final results.
Incumbent Attorney General Chris Koster took a strong lead in the race and was declared the winner over Republican rival Ed Martin shortly before 11 p.m. Meanwhile, Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder fought off a challenge from Democrat Susan Montee to secure a rare third term in that office. State treasurer Clint Zweifel, a Democrat, also eked out a win after trailing in the polls much of the night.
With nearly every precinct reporting early today, Kander led Republican Shane Schoeller by about 30,000 votes.
Koster, 48, previously served in the state Senate as a Republican, but he switched parties before running for attorney general four years ago.
“Those who supported our efforts this day, and those who supported the Republican nominee, you are my bosses equally, and I will endeavor again to serve you faithfully,” Koster said in his victory speech.
A year ago, Kinder, 58, was seen as a likely gubernatorial candidate against Democrat Nixon until a series of highly-publicized controversies, including reports of thousands in taxpayer-funded travel expenses and a prior relationship with a stripper.
He faced a backlash from some Republicans earlier this year, but Kinder, 58, won the party’s nomination and went on to defeat former state auditor Montee on Tuesday.
“I’m humbled and gratified by the verdict of the voters,” he told the Post-Dispatch.
Dismissing his public embarrassments as “non-issues,” Kinder said voters showed they were more concerned about where candidates stand on values issues, such as abortion and gun owners rights.
Montee, 53, served as state auditor from 2007 to 2011 and was looking to make a political comeback after losing her re-election bid to Republican Tom Schweich two years ago.
As results trickled in Tuesday, Zweifel was locked in a tight race with his Republican challenger, state Rep. Cole McNary, of Chesterfield, but was named the winner shortly before midnight.
In his bid for re-election, Zweifel, 39, focused on his record of helping Missouri keep its triple-A credit rating and getting high marks from the state auditor, who is a Republican.
The secretary of state’s race was among the tightest statewide campaigns in Missouri, but as final precincts were reported, Kander had the edge.
Republican Shane Schoeller had been ahead for much of the night.
Incumbent Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, a Democrat, did not seek re-election this year – leaving a rare, wide-open race for state office.
BREAKING: Ed Martin wins GOP MO-AG Primary, will face off against Koster (D) in November
AP reports that Ed Martin wins Republican nomination for Missouri attorney general, #moprimary— Quincy Herald-Whig (@WhigNews) August 8, 2012
Dana Busted: Pro-GOP mouthpiece Dana Loesch baselessly accuses Robin Carnahan and Eric Holder of neglecting Joplin Tornado victims b/c the area voted Republican
Pro-Kinder mouthpiece Dana Loesch and the rest of the right-wing lie machine are seizing on this falsehood that “Obama, Carnahan, Koster, Holder, and Nixon are ignoring 10,000+ voters in tornado-ravaged and heavily Republican Joplin.” The fact-free imbecile Loesch used multiple falsehoods on this story, including the smear that she was linked to the now-defunct ACORN and blamed this on Holder and Obama.
Eric Holder accused Florida lawmakers of disenfranchisment when the state took to cleaning up ineligible voters (due to death or felony) from its voter rolls. That same DOJ has been silent about a story brewing out of southern Missouri; after suffering through one of the worst tornados in history, Joplin residents will now face losing their vote.
Asking Robin Carnahan for assistance when she’s already refused to clean up Missouri voter rolls seems fruitless, but it can’t hurt. Carnahan has in the past been linked to ACORN, and the state has fought voter fraud for years. It seems only logical to question whether or not the Secretary of State and DOJ’s reluctance to intervene is because the 10,000 Joplin tornado victims are heavily Republican.
President Obama and Eric Holder often talk of how the government can help, and they preach against the evils of disenfranchising voters. So where are they?
I am anticipating that the scandal will continue to grow over the next few days with all of those who are attacking the president, the attorney general, the governor, the secretary of state, and other Democratic officials overlooking a few facts.
1. The chief election official in Jasper County, County Clerk Bonnie Earl, is a Republican. And I don’t say that to cast any blame on her. If she were needing help, she would have asked. Sending out the voter ID cards gave her the first indication of what the situation is in Joplin and Jasper County. Some might ask why that step has not already been taken since numerous elections have occurred between May 22, 2011, and now.
2. The Joplin Globe article that first revealed the problem did not have any mention of people not being allowed to vote. It said that those who do not have the new voter ID cards will probably face some problems. In other words, it is likely it will take longer for them to vote or they may have to cast provisional ballots.
3. It would not do the Democratic Party any good for those voters to be disenfranchised this Tuesday.It is a primary election so it will not have any effect whatsoever on the race between President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney. Election officials now have three months to fix the problem and certainly have incentive to do so, especially since those election officials are Republican in a state where close races are expected for some statewide offices and for a U. S. Senate seat.
4. Don’t think there are any Jasper County Democratic officials who will stand in the way. County Republican primary winners are guaranteed election because no Democrats are running. Nor are there any Democratic officeholders.
All of these things were conveniently overlooked as statewide Republican officials and so far, one national right-wing rabble-rouser (with more undoubtedly to come) sought to capitalize one more time on the Joplin Tornado.
ST. LOUIS • A third Republican is considering inserting himself into what is at the moment a head-to-head primary in the Second Congressional District.
Dr. Randy Jotte, an emergency room physician and former Webster Groves city councilman, issued a press release Monday saying he is “considering entering the race” for the seat, which includes most of St. Louis County and some of Jefferson and St. Charles counties.
In his release, Jotte says, that, if he got into the race, it would be a “David vs. Goliath kind of challenge” — and he is absolutely correct.
The Republican primary currently includes Ann Wagner, the well-funded former ambassador and state party chair, and Ed Martin, who almost managed an upset victory over Russ Carnahan in 2010.
H/T: Jake Wagman at St. Louis Post-Dispatch
I don’t like much about CNN’s Dana Loesch but I have to give her credit for one thing: she’s done a great job of “branding” herself as a rebellious tea party outsider independent from the mainstream Republican Party. After all, why would gullible news outlets like CNN want to hire just another person repeating the same old tired Republican talking points? But, like pretty much everything else that’s come from the St. Louis Tea Party, Loesch’s image as a rebellious outsider was deliberately constructed and almost entirely false.Team Loesch went to the polls this morning and cast two votes for Mitt Romney. I think he’s the best candidate of change and more qualified than McCain.
After supporting both Roy Blunt and Ed Martin over more conservative challengers in the 2010 election, Loesch has been seeking attention lately by bashing GOP front-runner Mitt Romney. A few weeks ago she said she’d never support him:
Today, now that flavor-of-the-week Perry has self-destructed and it’s become more likely that Romney will be the nominee, she backed off a little and said that she didn’t want to think of the “nightmare” of Romney vs. Obama.
But even more importantly, she claimed that she “was against Romney last election” and wouldn’t support him this time.
Unfortunately for Loesch, even if she easily forgets, those wacky internets don’t. A friend DM’d me a link to the Way Back Machine that showed that, guess what? Dana Loesch voted for Mitt Romney in the Republican primary in 2008 as the “candidate of change”:
Here’s a screen shot:
And guess what else? “RomneyCare” was enacted back in 2006, so I guess that means that Dana Loesch actually was a fan of RomneyCare *and* thought it was constitutional. How about that?
But it’s not really a big deal, since the folks at CNN seem to like having Loesch lie to their faces.
Liar, liar, pants on Fire!
ST. LOUIS • Last week, the arm of the Republican Party charged with maintaining a majority in Congress targeted U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan with a round of robocalls to his constituents.
The calls, as the blog PoliticsMO puts it, were programmed to do something that Carnahan is not — run in his Third Congressional district.
That district, of course, was eliminated this spring when Republican lawmakers in Jefferson City redrew the state’s Congressional map.
Since then, Carnahan has indulged in a Summer of Indecision, raising tens of thousands of dollars for a campaign without a destination.
Carnahan has insisted he wants to stay on Capitol Hill, but has been coy about whether he will (A) challenge fellow St. Louis Democratic Congressman Lacy Clay in a primary or (B) take his chances in the newly configured district next door.
Republicans clearly think he will take option B, hence the automated calls from the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Carnahan has also apparently commissioned his own poll that found he would be competitive with either of the two Republicans vying for their party’s nomination, former ambassador Ann Wagner or Ed Martin, Carnahan’s 2010 opponent.
The district has been held for a decade by Wildwood Republican Todd Akin, but has been redrawn in a way — less St. Charles County, more St. Louis County —that could benefit a Democrat.
But is Carnahan that Democrat?
Carnahan, whose home is in Compton Heights, does not currently live in the district. Though the law requires candidate’s to live only in the state they represent, not the actual district, it is still a liability to not be able to vote for yourself. (That concern may be nullified if Martin, who also does not live in the district, is the GOP’s nominee.)
Last year, Carnahan ran the toughest re-election fight of his career staving off Martin. He would need to summon all that energy and then some to win in a new district.
On paper, Carnahan may have an easier time in 2012 challenging Clay for the lone Congressional seat representing the city of St. Louis, though the collateral damage — racial divisiveness, bad blood within the party —would be substantial.
In the end, Carnahan may conclude the best opportunity for success — if not necessarily victory — would be to take on the winner of the Wagner/Martin duel.
Carnahan’s family has already established roots in the D.C. area, and his post-Congressional employment prospects in the Beltway may be better if he’s seen as someone who took one for the team, rather than in an acrimonious primary.
And that’s a worst case scenario — if things go his way, he could still be called Congressman.
h/t: Jake Wagman at St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
If polling is his guide, Missouri Rep. Russ Carnahan may just run for reelection in his newly configured 2nd congressional District after all.
An internal poll commissioned by the fourth-term Democrat and obtained exclusively by POLITICO shows Carnahan in virtual dead heats with both potential Republican challengers, Ed Martin and Ann Wagner.
The August survey found Carnahan up two points on Martin, 42 percent to 40 percent and leading Wagner by a single point, 40 percent to 39 percent.
Following the Medicare attack, Carnahan takes the lead over Wagner 42 percent to 41 percent.
This reveals that while Martin may be more vulnerable to personal attacks about his past than Wagner, the Medicare message appears to be more salient with voters in either contest.
The Lake survey also found that the tea party is viewed more favorably than President Obama by about 5 percent. It puts the “tea party movement’s” favorability at 45 percent in the new 2nd Congressional District, compared to Obama’s 40 percent rating. Akin comes in with 47 percent favorability.
Akin would defeat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill 49 percent to 41 percent in the 2nd Congressional District and Gov. Jay Nixon would best Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder 45 percent to 34 percent, according to Lake’s poll of hypothetical match-ups.
H/T: David Catanese at Politico.com