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Clay endorses Page as part of last-minute flood before Aug. 3

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 22, 2010 - Less than two weeks before the Aug. 3 primary, it's time for the candidates to tout last-minute endorsements from various big-name politicians in hopes of swaying any still-undecided voters or, in the case of uncontested races, heighten ones profile for the fall.

Today, U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., announced he has chosen sides in the combative Democratic primary in the 24th state Senate district, and is endorsing former state Rep. Sam Page, D-Creve Coeur.

Page is competing against County Council president Barbara Fraser, a former state legislator, who has the backing of the 24th District's incumbent Democrat, Joan Bray, who must retire because of term limits.

Said Clay in a statement: "As someone who served for 17 years in both chambers of the Missouri Legislature, I know what it takes to be a true leader in Jefferson City. Sam Page will be a powerful advocate for health care, education, jobs, protecting seniors and strengthening our neighborhoods. His values are my values."

Meanwhile, John Lamping, the only Republican competing for the 24th District seat, has won the endorsement of a former member of Congress, fellow Republican Jim Talent, who doesn't live in the district but carries some political weight.

Said Talent: "John Lamping is a man of great integrity, principle, and strength. I am confident he will bring principled decision making and competent representation to all citizens of the 24th Senate District. I am truly proud to endorse John Lamping for state Senate."

Talent's support is the latest in a litany of high-profile endorsements from prominent groups or fellow Republicans that Lamping has rolled out in recent weeks. The aim appears to be elevate Lamping's name recognition right before Democrats choose their nominee.

In the 2nd District state Senate contest, incumbent Republican Scott Rupp is seeking to bolster his pledge to support Missourians' right to bear arms by announcing his endorsement by the National Rifle Association.

The NRA only endorsed Rupp, and not his GOP challenger (and fellow gun-rights advocate) Cynthia Davis, a state legislator from O'Fallon.

"I am honored to receive this endorsement by the NRA, which reflects my strong record and continued commitment to protect 2nd amendment rights in Missouri," said Rupp, a banker from Wentzville.

The NRA gave Rupp an "A" rating for his voting record and his "vigorous effort to promote and defend the Second Amendment."

And in the 3rd District congressional fight, Republican Ed Martin announced today that he'd won the endorsement of syndicated columnist/author David Limbaugh (a relative of that better-known gent on national radio, Rush Limbaugh).

Martin's campaign has posted a video of David Limbaugh's kind words.

Martin has two Republican rivals in the Aug. 3 primary -- John Wayne Tucker and Rusty Wallace -- but has been spending most of his energy attacking the Democratic incumbent, fellow St. Louisan Russ Carnahan.

Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.