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St. Louis lawyer Ed Martin may challenge U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 29, 2009 - Ed Martin, a St. Louis lawyer and Republican activist (and former chief of staff to former Gov. Matt Blunt), announced today that he has formed an exploratory committee as he mulls over a possible bid for Congress next year.

Martin is seeking to unseat the Democratic incumbent in the 3rd congressional district -- U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan of St. Louis. Martin is being assisted by the district's most famous bakers, brothers Randy and David McArthur, who are upset with Carnahan's recent vote on an energy bill.

Martin said in a statement that he's being encouraged by friends to consider running for the congressional seat, which covers a district that spans from south St. Louis to Ste. Genevieve County, including Jefferson County and part of St. Louis County.

“The people of the 3rd District are a critical economic engine for America,” said Martin in a statement. “These workers and families want leaders who will stand up for them for jobs, lower taxes, less spending and a government that lives within its means. What has become clear is that Congressman Carnahan is not listening to – or speaking for – the people he promised to represent. Examples include his voting record for the so-called ‘stimulus’ bill, for a massive national energy tax, and his public advocacy - in lockstep with Speaker Nancy Pelosi - for a disastrous government takeover of health care which will lead to rationing and endanger Medicare.

"I have always stood up for what I believe in and I'm considering running for Congress to make a difference by standing up for our neighbors and fellow citizens in the district,” Martin added.

Martin is known for his shoot-from-the-hip style, which has won him praise -- and also gotten him in trouble -- from time to time. He was one of the former Blunt aides at the center of the controversy over that office's handling of e-mails, and just recently settled a suit filed against him and others by former Blunt lawyer Scott Eckersley. Martin was the one who actually fired Eckersley.

At the same time, Martin has served as a key lawyer in several major anti-abortion cases, taking the side of abortion opponents, including the Illinois case where pharmacists sued the state over an order by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich that required them to fill prescriptions for Plan B, a pregnancy preventative also known as the "morning-after pill."

Martin also has been the top official or attorney for a number of conservative groups that are pro-business or anti-abortion. Dave McArthur, vice president of McArthur’s Bakery in south St. Louis County, is among those that Martin says have asked him to challenge Carnahan, after the congressman voted in favor of the "cap and trade'' energy bill. Supporters say it will help curb global warming and encourage the development and use of alternative fuels, while critics say it will force energy costs to skyrocket -- especially in states like Missouri that rely heavily on coal.

Said Dave McArthur in a statement: “With SaveAB.com and his other work in service to our community, Ed has shown he will step up and lead. We need Ed in Congress and I’m doing everything I can to gather support – from fellow business owners, colleagues, friends and family – for Ed.”

Brother Randy McArthur, the bakery's chief executive, has agreed to serve as treasurer for Martin's campaign committee. The deputy treasurer will be Mary Beth Wolf, managing supervisor at Fleischman-Hillard and 3rd Congressional District representative on the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

Martin said he has "been meeting informally with 3rd District voters for several months'' in sessions called "Ask Ed Anything."


New Missouri Democratic Party spokesman Ryan Hobart (who previously had been with Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's office) said in a statement this evening:

"Ed Martin was fired by Governor Blunt and is too extreme even for the Republican Party. He is entirely out of touch with the needs of the 3rd Congressional District. Democrats look forward to re-electing Congressman Carnahan so he can continue to look out for the best interest of Missourians."

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.