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Carnahan, Martin debate debates as 3rd District contest heats up

U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, and his 3rd District Republican rival -- lawyer Ed Martin -- have agreed to debates, although they haven't agreed on how many, when or where.

In fact, Martin has announced a series of three weekly debates in August, beginning next Tuesday. Trouble is, Carnahan wasn't consulted and doesn't plan to show up.

The two apparently have agreed to two debates in September, as proposed by Carnahan, that would be hosted and moderated by the St. Louis area League of Women Voters. Although the dates have yet to be the set, plans call for one debate in the St. Louis area and the second in the 3rd District's southern half, in either Jefferson or Ste. Genevieve county.

Carnahan also has proposed that the Libertarian and Constitution Party candidates be allowed to participate.

But Martin sent out an announcement earlier this week declaring that three more debates will be held on consecutive Tuesdays: Aug. 17, 24 and 31. Martin says the moderator would be Martin Duggan, former moderator of KETC-TV's "Donnybrook." Duggan also supports Martin.

That was news to the Carnahan campaign:

"Apparently Ed Martin's long track record of lies didn't stop with scamming Missouri taxpayers out of 2.4 million in the infamous 'memogate' scandal," said Carnahan communications director Angela Guyadeen. "Debates are about helping voters better understand where their candidates stand on the issues -- not political stunts designed to mislead the public. As if voters didn't have enough reason to question Ed Martin's sincerity and honesty, this latest scam takes the cake."

The events are dubbed "Tuesdays with Martin," which indicate that they'll be held whether or not Carnahan shows up.

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.