Russ Carnahan

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 3:40 p.m. with a statement from Sen. McCaskill, additional information from the VA:

Sen. Claire McCaskill echoed Cong. Carnahan's sentiment in her statement:

(Screenshot via Mo. Sec. of State website)

State politicians were in St. Louis today to solicit public feedback on redrawing Missouri's congressional map from nine districts down to eight.

The outcome may mean a decrease in political clout for the metro region.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 1:58 p.m. Feb. 10, 2011 with comment from Rep. Carnahan

St. Louis Congressman Russ Carnahan says he remains frustrated by the systemic problems and slow pace of improvements at the Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis.

The columns at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
St. Louis Public Radio file photo

UPDATED 1:45 p.m. Feb. 8, 2011:

Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk of Illinois joined Missouri counterparts Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt in a letter Monday seeking the explanation from VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

The director of John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis says surgeries could resume next week at the facility. The center stopped performing surgeries because of concerns over contamination on some operating-room equipment. 

Meanwhile, congressional reaction to the new problems has been harsh.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The John Cochran Veterans Affairs Medical Center has canceled all surgeries until further notice after discovering that some surgical equipment may not have been properly sterilized.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated at 8:36pm with response from John Cochran officials.

The troubled John Cochran veteran's hospital is under fire again, this time for allegedly failing to keep critical supplies stocked on a timely basis.

The lawyer for Russ Carnahan's former campaign worker accused by some of tossing a molotov cocktail into the congressman's campaign office says the worker is innocent and no evidence links him to the incident.

"He's vigorously denying the allegations,'' said lawyer Susan Roach, referring to her client, Chris Powers.

She confirmed that police investigating the Aug. 17 incident interviewed Powers, but added, "there's no evidence that would place him at the scene of the crime."

U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, told reporters Wednesday afternoon that it was "outrageous'' for some conservative critics to allege that his campaign had orchestrated last week's firebombing of his campaign office.

"It's very sobering when you have a fire set in your office,'' he said, calling the whole episode "a nightmare."

U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, doesn't know who his Republican opponent will be -- in fact, Carnahan has two Democratic challengers -- but the congressman already is calling for two debates featuring all the party nominees for Nov. 2.

Carnahan is recommending that the debates be held in September in different parts of the far-flung 3rd congressional district.

"Informed voters make informed choices," Carnahan said.