Last Fall when Ed's supporters (and some say Ed himself) were hoping that he would enter the Missouri Governor's race, I wrote about what it would take for him to make that switch and I believe this holds for his switch to the AG race:
Yes, Ed Martin has grassroots support, but it's his ties to the Republican Party that must provide momentum for the push. The grassroots are not going to raise the million plus dollars required to put force behind that push. Furthermore, Martin will not elbow Peter Kinder out of the way even if the grassroots want him to. In short, the only realistic path I see for Ed Martin to enter the Governor's race is for the heir apparent, Peter Kinder, to pass the baton to Martin. That would involve stepping aside and endorsing Martin as well as providing an infusion of cash to a Martin for Governor campaign committee.A lot has changed since I wrote that. Having been dogged by scandals and a lack of campaign cash, Kinder is now running for Lt Governor. Speaker of the Missouri House Steve Tilley has bowed out of the Lt. Governor race for personal and family reasons. Tilley had amassed a considerable war chest which is no longer available for the 2012 fight.
More importantly, Ed Martin has already accomplished the first thing he had to do to make this switch: he got numerous endorsements from around the state from both establishment Republicans and grassroots activists. The entire Republican delegation to Congress has endorsed him, but it's the other endorsements that speak volumes. The Republican leadership in Missouri government including Lt. Gov Kinder and Speaker Tilley as well as President Pro Tem Rob Mayer and Senator Kevin Engler have endorsed Ed. Mayer and Engler were in a fiercely contested Missouri Senate leadership battle that was ultimately decided by a coin toss in 2010. The Mayer endorsement is important for another reason. With no one willing to step forward and run for AG until Martin's announcement earlier this week, Mayer's name was one of the few floated. Having endorsed Ed, it seems likely that the primary season will be one focused on Chris Koster instead of a partisan primary fight. Given the change in the political landscape and choosing the AG office over the Governor's job, I'd give him an A- on my endorsement assignment.
Ed still has to complete the second assignment that I gave him: an infusion of cash. I expect that will come in the coming weeks and months, so I will give him through the first quarter to demonstrate that he can raise the money needed to beat Koster. At this point, he's got an incomplete for his second assignment.
How this Changes Missouri's 2nd Congressional District Race
Ann Wagner is hoping for a lightly contested primary followed by a pro forma general election that seats her in a sinecure for the next thirty years.
I don't think that's going to happen.
When Todd Akin stepped up to run for US Senate, Ann announced her candidacy for his old US House seat in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District (MO2). Ed Martin also announced his candidacy for MO2 around that time because he did not want to compete against Akin in the Senate race. I wonder if that deference is at play again. I wonder if Todd Akin is considering abandoning his bid for Senate and returning to run in MO2.
Akin has struggled to raise the money required for a Senate bid. Additionally, his campaign infrastructure has not scaled up to a state-wide effort very well. It's strained. That's not to say that he hasn't worked hard to reach out to the state--I saw him in Joplin last July--but that he has not done as well as his two competitors. And, because of his fundraising constraints, Akin has been forced to rely on family to help staff his campaign.
I think that it's probable that Akin will switch his candidacy to Missouri's 2nd Congressional District. He's got a tremendous base there. In fact, there are some areas of the district that have given him 90+% of the vote in recent primaries. Could Martin be deferring again?
Had Akin not moved to the Senate race, he would've had trouble raising any campaign funds. Had he stayed in MO2, an R+7 district, he wouldn't have needed much money to retain his seat. Jumping into the Senate race allows him to raise money against the bogey monster Claire McCaskill, but those funds will be available even if he abandons his Senate bid and returns to run against Ann Wagner in MO2. In short, was Martin's deference last Spring part of a pre-planned bait-n-switch from an Akin-Martin tag team aimed at Ann Wagner?
Probably not. Politics is too messy a business for that much duplicity...