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Former Blunt aide announces for Congress

By Rachel Lippmann

St. Louis – A former top aide to Governor Matt Blunt will challenge Russ Carnahan for Congress next year.

Ed Martin served as Blunt's chief of staff until January 2008, when he resigned during an ongoing dispute over state e-mails. He's also led several ballot campaigns opposing embryonic stem cell research and supporting term limits, and chaired the St. Louis city Board of Elections.

Martin said he got a sense of discontentment among the residents of the Third District, which stretches from south St. Louis city to Ste. Genevieve County.

"The people in this district do not feel like they are being listened to by Washington D.C. and by the current Congressman," Martin said. "And then more specifically, an awful lot of people said not only are they worried about not being listened to, but the direction of where this Congress is taking things."

Martin's 2008 resignation came after it was reveled that the Blunt administration had been deleting state e-mails, in violation of the state's Sunshine Law. The dispute led to a lawsuit from another Blunt aide, Scott Eckersley, who claimed to have been fired after informing the administration it needed to keep the e-mails, which may have shown Martin doing political work on state time. The ongoing legal battle was settled just last week, when Eckersley got a letter clearing his reputation.

"Ed Martin's unethical and illegal actions make him unfit to serve in Congress," Missouri Democratic Party executive director Brian Zuzenak said in a statement. "He has already cost Missouri taxpayers millions of dollars. The people of Missouri's 3rd Congressional District can't afford to see what further damage he could do as their representative."