MISSOURI’S 3RD U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT
Martin vs. Carnahan
Face it: In the St. Louis-based House district represented by Democrats Dick Gephardt (1976-2000) and Russ Carnahan (since 2000), Republican challengers were not taken seriously.
Gephardt was a product of the local Democratic organization and quickly became a power in Congress, rising to the position of House Democratic leader. Former state legislator Carnahan is heir to one of the most illustrious Democratic names in the Show-Me State. His later father Mel was two-term governor, mother Jean U.S. senator, and sister Robin secretary of state (and presently the Democratic nominee for the Senate).
But a lot of races that should not be competitive are in 2010. So far, Republican challenger Ed Martin has raised more than $1.3 million against liberal Carnahan (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 3.20%).
At 40, Martin has one of the most fascinating résumés of any U.S. House hopeful this year. A graduate of Holy Cross University, he studied in Indonesia under a Watson Fellowship, served a stint in Rome as an assistant to Pope John Paul II and later worked for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
“And one of the things we did was cut off funding we had been providing ACORN and other left-wing causes,” Martin proudly recalled. After law school, he clerked for a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, went into private practice, served as chairman of the Board of Elections in St. Louis and then as chief of staff to Republican Gov. (2004-08) Matt Blunt.
“I’m proud to say we purged the voter rolls of a lot of fraudulent names,” said Martin, “and in Gov. Blunt’s office, my goal was complete transparency at all levels of government in Jefferson City.” In discussing the plan the Blunt Administration implemented to provide greater transparency, Martin also noted that before he became prime minister, British Conservative Party leader David Cameron cited the Missouri plan as a prototype for his own vision of transparency.
Martin’s goals are to establish a “transparency caucus” in the House and to come up with fresh means of denying tax dollars to left-wing groups.
As for Carnahan, as his Republican opponent puts it, “when Nancy Pelosi came here to campaign for him, she praised him as a ‘low-maintenance guy’ in Washington. When Nancy Pelosi calls you ‘low maintenance,’ that means you’re not hard to get to along with for her. And that’s true: Whether it’s healthcare, stimulus money, cap and trade or card check, he’s there when Pelosi calls.”
For all his passion for issues and support for a conservative agenda, Ed Martin is happiest when talking about wife Carol, their three children and their home in St. Louis Hills. As he says, “it’s a place where you can walk to church, know your neighbors and can send your children to school without worry. It’s what America is about.”
And it’s what Ed Martin is all about. What could be a better reason than that for conservatives to rally to him in the closing days of the campaign?
(2010 Ed Martin for Congress Committee, 6037 Hampton Ave., St. Louis, Mo., 63109; 314-807-7077; edmartinforcongress.com)
ALABAMA’S 2ND U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT
Roby vs. Bright
When Martha Roby and her husband discussed her first-ever political race back in 2003, it was a bid for the City Council of Montgomery, Ala.
“We saw serving on the council as a way to make Montgomery a better place to live,” recalls Roby, who was born and raised in Montgomery County. So she ran and won and put her vision of “a better place to live” into action. For the young councilwoman, that meant fighting tax increases and cutting budgets.
“In ’08 alone, I stood up to five attempts to raise taxes,” she said, “and last year, we cut $9 million out of the city budget. We also put $3 million back in the ‘rainy day fund,’ all without a tax increase.”
Not bad at all, and enough to propel Roby through a hard-fought primary and run-off to become the Republican nominee for Congress in Alabama’s 2nd District. The Montgomery-based district had been in GOP hands from 1964 until 2008, when a combination of local circumstances and the national tide helped then-Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright narrowly win the district for the Democrats.
Rep. Bright campaigns as a “Blue Dog” Democrat and his voting record is actually more centrist than leftist (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 72%). He has even come around to saying that he will absolutely not vote again for Nancy Pelosi for speaker—an increasingly easy thing to say, as signs grow strong that Republicans will win control of the House and Pelosi will not even stand for minority leader, much less speaker.
“But the fact remains he voted for her to be speaker before and he has supported a number of things she wants enacted,” said Roby, citing Bright’s support for the “cash for clunkers” program and opposition the slashing of tax dollars for the Legal Services Corp.
As she did on the City Council, conservative Roby campaigns on a hard-line, anti-tax platform and calls for cutting corporate and capital gains taxes “to get money into the hands of those who create private sector jobs—in other words, a stimulus package that is real.”
You get the picture. Bobby Bright may be a “Blue Dog,” but Martha Roby is the “watchdog” of Montgomery’s treasury. It’s obvious which would be better in Congress—and that will be Martha Roby, if conservatives come to her side in the twilight days of the campaign.
(Martha Roby for Congress, P.O. Box 195, Montgomery, Ala. 36101)
CALIFORNIA’S 37TH U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT
Parker vs. Richardson
“For about seven years, I engaged in criminal, sexual and drug-related activities,” Star Parker, Republican nominee for Congress in California’s 37th District recalled without hesitation, “and I was also a welfare mother.”
The GOP hopeful cites the self-destructive parts of her past as a prelude to her odyssey as a strong Christian, successful businesswoman and a conservative who happens to be black. Parker accepted Christ as her savior “in about 1983-84—it was not a single incident but a process with me.” The Los Angeles City College graduate went on to launch a local magazine with eight employees.
“And we were doing fine until the 1992 riots,” she said, “and it wasn’t that we were destroyed, but a lot of our advertisers got burned out.” From there, Parker went on to do commentary on ABC radio in San Francisco and Los Angeles and then launched the Center for Urban Renewal Education (CURE), which helps craft marketplace solutions to fight poverty.
“Only by removing government barriers and unleashing the market will we be able to offer true opportunity for the underprivileged and the inner-city,” she says. “Big government and relativism don’t work. My way will.”
Strong medicine, all right. And Parker’s message is particularly noteworthy when realizing she is running in the Long Beach-area district originally carved out to be in Democratic hands and represented in the House for the past seven years by left-wing Democrat Laura Richardson.
Richardson symbolizes, in Parker’s words, “all I have fought against in the public arena. She went from city council to state legislature to Congress in one year—a predictable career politician. She votes against everything that helps business, against the military in Iraq and Afghanistan and for everything the unions want. She’ll vote to subsidize anything and that leads to addiction to government by people. I mean to break it!”
In contrasting her conservatism with Richardson’s record (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 0%), the combative conservative hopeful hits hard at the Democrat’s support of cap and trade.
“If cap and trade becomes law, it will devastate the port in Long Beach and cost perhaps 30,000 jobs related to it,” says Parker.
Star Parker’s message of opportunity and no-holds-barred style have so far brought in more than $1 million to her campaign coffers. But even in a year that appears promising for the GOP, she needs even more resources to win her fight in such a Democratic district.
The opportunity is there and the goal is a noble one: “Rep. Star Parker (R.-Calif.),” a leader against “boilerplate liberalism.”
(Star Parker for Congress 2010, P.O. Box 4625, Carson, Calif. 90749; 562-989-STAR; www.starparkerforcongress.com)