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Russ Carnahan makes pitch to seniors, while Martin snags Danforth

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 5, 2010 - Republican congressional candidate Ed Martin got help today from former U.S. Sen. John Danforth, R-Mo., who endorsed Martin -- despite acknowledged policy differences -- and headlined a fundraising event to aid Martin's quest to defeat the Democratic incumbent, U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan.

The private fundraiser was at a home in University City and was closed to the press.

However, Missouri Lawyers Media's Jason Rosenbaum happened to be in the neighborhood and snagged the senator and the candidate fora short videoin which Danforth explains why he is backing Martin. The duo's disagreements include embryonic stem-cell research; Danforth is a big backer and Martin is a big opponent.

Said Danforth in remarks released by Martin's campaign: "This election isn't about subtleties; this growth of government we've seen is a big issue."

"The size, cost and weight of the federal government is the biggest factor facing our country. (President Barack) Obama, (Speaker of the House Nancy) Pelosi and (Senate Majority Leader Harry) Reid are running up a huge debt and we're finding out the dramatic 'change' they have in store for us. This is very serious. Washington isn't listening and I don't think they care. Ed Martin listens. We need to make our country right and Ed Martin is one who can set us on the right path."

Meanwhile, Carnahan, D-St. Louis, is traveling this week to senior centers throughout the 3rd District to assert that a huge Republican victory this fall could threaten the future of Social Security and Medicare.

"It's hard to believe there are still some politicians that want to get rid of Social Security and Medicare," said Carnahan in a statement. "But there is no way I'm going to let that happen."

Carnahan's statement cited comments by various top Republicans, including House Minority Leader John Boehner, that propose "privatizing Social Security, eliminating Medicare and raising the retirement age to 70."

"This August, Social Security marked 75 years of providing Missouri seniors with financial security in their retirement," Carnahan's campaign said. The congressman's appearances at senior centers in Affton, High Ridge, south county and St. Louis are official congressional events -- not campaign stops.

"Carnahan will talk with seniors about his efforts to fight these risky privatization schemes, as well as new assistance to help seniors afford prescription drugs and his work to crack down on predatory financial schemes that target seniors," his staff said.

Both candidates' events are targeting crucial blocs of voters. Martin, for example, has strong conservative ties; Danforth can help him with more moderate Republicans, and possibly some swing voters.

As for Carnahan, he's clearly going after the elderly, who long have been a key demographic in the 3rd. Carnahan likely wants to curb any losses from elderly Democratic voters who may be confused or concerned about the federal health insurance changes.

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