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Martin drops House bid, will run for Mo. Attorney General

Updated at 10:45 a.m. to make grammatical corrections and include information about transfer of money.

After flirting with a U.S. Senate bid before announcing his candidacy to replace Todd Akin in the U.S. House, Ed Martin has switched races once again.

Martin, the chief of staff to Gov. Matt Blunt, announced the switch earlier today on a revamped website. His announcement calls Democrat Chris Koster, the incumbent,  "President Obama's lawyer, not the people's Attorney General."

Martin also accuses Koster of failing to lead on issues like immigration, voter fraud and economic development. He also attacks Koster for "filling his campaign coffers to the brim with contributions from law firms competing to work on major lawsuits that State lawyers don’t handle," comparing that to the Obama administration's decision to give tax breaks to silicon panel manufacturer Solyndra, whose executives had donated large sums of money to the Obama campaign, as well as to Republicans.

Martin was at a huge fundraising disadvantage in his Congressional bid. Federal Election Commission reports show Ann Wagner having raised more than $1 million between April and September 2011, with more than $857,000 cash on hand as of Sept. 30. Martin, on the other hand, had raised just about $381,000 with about $270,000 cash on hand. Federal and state law allow him to transfer that money to a statewide bid.

State campaign finance records from January 2012 show Koster with $1.3 million on hand. He issued the following statement on Martin's entry into the race:

"I welcome Ed Martin to the race and look forward to a public discussion about the direction of our state. In 2008, Missourians embraced our campaign because they understood the importance of having an Attorney General who was a prosecutor, one who has personally stood in the courtroom and convicted many of Missouri's most notorious criminals.  In 2012, I'm confident they will do so again."  

Martin narrowly lost to Russ Carnahan in 2010. In addition to serving as Blunt's chief of staff, Martin has also worked for the Archdiocese of St. Louis and as an attorney for anti-abortion and school-choice groups.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.