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Martin campaign to erect billboards attacking Koster

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 2, 2012 - Republican Ed Martin, who just switched to running for attorney general instead of Congress, is pressing one of the same issues. His campaign says he is erecting billboards "all over Missouri'' that attack Democratic incumbent Chris Koster for not aggressively opposing the federal health-insurance law.

Martin's spokesman said one billboard will be near the intersection of Highway 141 and Interstate 44 in southwest St. Louis County. The billboard will direct the viewer to a website set up by Martin to attack Koster: ObamasLawyer.com.

Martin's campaign spokesman said that at least 10 billboards will be erected, but he did not disclose where the others may be located. The campaign also did not disclose how much will be spent on the billboards.

Martin's attack website asserts that Koster has been "disregarding the will of 71 percent of Missourians who voted to reject Obamacare."

The site is referring to the 71 percent of  Missouri voters in August 2010 who voted in favor of Proposition C, which seeks to exempt Missouri from the federal health-insurance mandate that will require many Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014.

The attack does not point out that Koster had filed a legal brief that also questions whether the mandate is constitutional. The brief did say that Koster had no legal objections to other parts of the federal health-care law.

Koster's filing was part of a multi-state suit challenging the mandate. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on the matter later this year.

Martin said in his release that his attack website is "also a tool for Missourians that have been wronged by Chris Koster. There is a link on the site to lodge complaints about Koster as well as site specific instances in which Koster has chosen Obama over you, a Missouri citizen."

Martin is running for Missouri attorney general after spending months campaigning for the 2nd District congressional seat against a fellow Republican, Ann Wagner, a former ambassador and state party chair who had amassed a huge lead in fundraising and in endorsements.

Koster has $1.2 million in the bank and had no Republican challenger until Martin switched races.

On Wednesday, Martin received $10,000 from his former boss: former Gov. Matt Blunt, a fellow Republican. Martin used to be his chief of staff.

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.