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Martin joins in condemning arson at Carnahan headquarters

Republican congressional candidate Ed Martin condemned late Tuesday the suspected arson attack on the campaign headquarters of U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis.

Carnahan's spokeswoman Angela Guyadeen reported that the incident occurred early Tuesday. "This morning at approximately 2:20 a.m. the local fire department responded to a call they received about a break-in and fire at the campaign headquarters," Guyadeen said in a brief statement. "There is minor damage to the office, and the campaign headquarters remains open. The St. Louis police and fire departments are investigating."

By Tuesday evening, a 50-year-old man had been arrested, prompting speculation -- even on Martin's part -- that politics may have been fueled the incident.

"While there is obviously a lot of angst and frustration among voters, violence is never the answer!" Martin  said in a statement. "We must all work together to establish a peaceful and prosperous political process."

Carnahan has been targeted before. In March, Tea Party activists carried a coffin as a prop for a prayer vigil conducted in front of his home as part of a protest against the federal health-care law. The activists said the coffin illustrated their fear of rationing and was not intended as a threat against the congressman.

And last summer, disgruntled Tea Party activists packed several of Carnahan's forums to vent their anger over federal health-care changes -- which the congressman supported -- as well as other Democratic initiatives such as the congressional energy proposals that include cap-and-trade provisions.

Although the 3rd congressional district is deemed Democratic-leaning, Carnahan -- in office since 2005 -- faces a vigorous challenge from Martin, a lawyer and conservative activist who has attracted a lot of national attention and money.

However, the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee announced Tuesday that the 3rd is not among 40 congressional districts around the country chosen for a $22 million ad blitz, indicating that Martin may not get as much national help as he had hoped.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon.

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.