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National GOP group launches robo-call campaign against Russ Carnahan

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 17, 2011 - The National Republican Congressional Committee has launched disparaging robo-calls in U.S. Russ Carnahan's soon-to-be-eliminated 3rd District, as the St. Louis Democrat contemplates his political future.

Carnahan, of course, saw his district eliminated during this spring's congressional redistricting, as the General Assembly drew new boundaries to reflect the state's loss of a congressional seat as of 2013.

The NRCC's calls, targeting thousands of Carnahan's current constituents, assert that his support of "reckless economic policies'' has contributed to the nation's struggling economy. The calls began Tuesday, a spokeswoman said.

"Russ Carnahan's political agenda is having a tangible impact on the American people by forcing them to pay higher prices for everyday items at a time when they can least afford it," said the NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek. "The time is now for Carnahan and his fellow House Democrats to take a different approach, an approach that would -- instead of ignore the desperate pleas of struggling Americans -- focus on promoting responsible policies that would bring much needed relief to middle-class families."

The calls come as Carnahan and his allies have been circulating favorable poll numbers in the GOP-leaning 2nd District -- the seat that Democratic leaders want the four-term representative to seek. That district's current GOP incumbent, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin of Wildwood, is running for the U.S. Senate. The new boundaries include a portion of Carnahan's current district.

Carnahan already has been attacking unnamed Republicans for favoring the proposal of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to turn Medicare into a type of voucher program.

National Democrats are trying to dissuade Carnahan from challenging U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, whose new 1st District includes a significant chunk of Carnahan's current Democratic-leaning district -- including south St. Louis and part of southwest St. Louis County.

So far, two Republicans are running in the 2nd District: former Ambassador Ann Wagner of Ballwin and St. Louis lawyer Ed Martin, who narrowly lost to Carnahan last fall.

Here's the NRCC's script for its robocall:

"Hello, I'm calling from the National Republican Congressional Committee with an important alert about your Congressman Russ Carnahan. While some are changing the conversation in Washington to one of spending cuts and economic growth, Russ Carnahan is part of a group making a bad economy worse. You feel the disastrous effects of Russ Carnahan's policies every day as gas prices go up, your grocery bill gets higher, you see more foreclosure signs pop up in your neighborhood and more Americans feel uneasy about their jobs. Call Congressman Russ Carnahan at 202-225-2671 and tell him to stop punishing middle class families."

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.

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