Monday, May 9, 2011

Martin Flips From Senate To House Race - Hotline On Call

From: Hotline On Call

Missouri Republican Ed Martin (R) is exiting the Missouri Senate race to run for Congress in Missouri's not-yet-vacant 2nd District, he announced Monday morning.

Rep. Todd Akin (R) currently represents the St. Charles-based seat, and is giving a Senate run strong consideration. In late April, former Ambassador to Luxembourg Ann Wagner announced the formation of an exploratory committee for the a 2nd District run, citing her belief that Akin will likely vacate his seat to run for the Senate. Wagner, the state's former GOP chairwoman, also mounted a bid this year to be Republican National Committee chair.

In a radio interview Monday morning, Martin acknowledged that the path even in the House race likely won't be clear.

"I think there will be a primary," said Martin.

In the Senate race, Martin put up lackluster fundraising numbers during the first quarter, and his campaign didn't emerge as a notable force, even as Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) faced criticism over her use of a private plane for political travel and her failure to pay the necessary property taxes on the aircraft.

If Martin does become the GOP nominee, his Democratic challenger could be a familiar foe. Martin narrowly lost to Rep. Russ Carnahan (D) in the 3rd District race last year, but now Carnahan's district has been eliminated in redistricting. Among the options he's considering is running in the 2nd District. The St.Louis Post-Dispatch notes that despite the district's GOP tilt, Carnahan's allies are factoring in the likelihood of a bruising GOP primary.

Martin's move leaves the GOP Senate field to former Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who also put up very disappointing first quarter fundraising numbers. Akin, on the other hand enjoyed impressive first quarter numbers and if he joins the Senate race would likely become the front-runner on the GOP side.

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