Kinder, Talent, Coleman encourage Martin to challenge Carnahan
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 23, 2009 - Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent led a parade of most of the region's prominent Republicans who crowded into Kemoll's banquet room Tuesday to help local GOP lawyer Ed Martin -- who's expected to announce next week that he's running for Congress.
Assuming he gets no Republican rivals, Martin's target next year will be the Democratic incumbent, U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis.
Martin's likely kickoff announcement is slated for a rally next Wednesday outside McArthur's Bakery in south St. Louis County, owned by brothers Randy and David McArthur, who've become thorns in Carnahan's side ever since the congressman voted in favor of a cap-and-trade energy bill that the brothers say might force them out of business.
It's issues like that -- and Carnahan's support for the beleaguered Democratic efforts to change the nation's health care system -- that had Kinder and Talent telling Tuesday's crowd that the political atmosphere was beginning to feel like 1993.
That year, the pummeling of that new Democratic president -- Bill Clinton -- led the GOP to take over Congress in 1994. Area Republicans are increasingly optimistic that 2010 could be just as fruitful for their party, and curb the influence of the new Democrat in the White House, Barack Obama.
Bolstering such talk at Tuesday's fundraiser for Martin was former Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., who declared that the public increasingly agrees with Republicans that "we don't want the government running General Motors. We don't want government running health care."
And "we don't want the president traveling the world apologizing for America's greatness," Coleman said, touching off applause.
"People are spontaneously upset,'' said Talent in his remarks, adding that "they have a right to be angry'' because of the rising federal debt.
Talent, who is vice chairman of the congressional Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, said he also is concerned that none of the federal stimulus money went for defense procurement.
Talent called the talkative Martin the "happy warrior" that the party needs to take on the challenge that Carnahan poses.
Kinder, meanwhile, lashed out at Democrats who he said had unfairly maligned the Tea Party movement and its conservative followers.
Referring to Martin, Kinder predicted that supporters will "come out of the woodwork and respond to the candidacy of this great man."
The 3rd District is generally deemed to lean Democratic, and Carnahan -- son of a former governor and a former senator, and grandson of a congressman -- hails from one of Missouri's most prominent Democratic families.
Martin acknowledged that he faced a stiff task. Martin, who's also known for his no-holds-barred manner, touched off chuckles when he declared that the congressman and his fellow Carnahans "have a reputation as hardball players."