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Carnahan remains optimistic that the courts will resurrect his district

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 4, 2012 - U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, says he's set a personal record for raising money for a 2012 contest that he's confident he can win -- if the courts act as he hopes, and expects.

The repeated press questions as to whether the four-term congressman will run in the 1st District in the city of St. Louis, or the suburban 2nd District present "a false choice right now," Carnahan said in an interview Saturday.

"The district lines that the legislature drew, I don't believe, will be the districts that people are running in next year," Carnahan said.

He repeatedly reaffirmed his confidence in the success of a lawsuit filed in September that challenges the congressional redistricting map that General Assembly approved last spring, and put into effect over the veto of Gov. Jay Nixon, a fellow Democrat.

That map, in effect, eliminated Carnahan's 3rd District by splitting it into four other congressional districts (and renaming parts of the current 9th District as the new 3rd). His St. Louis home was tossed into the new 1st, now represented by fellow Democrat William Lacy Clay.

A hearing on the challenging suit is scheduled for Thursday in Cole County's 19th Circuit Court before Judge Daniel Richard Green.

Carnahan repeated his belief in the suit's contentions, which include the assertion that the St. Louis area is unconstitutionally underrepresented in the new map.

"At the end of the day, I'm confident I will have a good place to run in," Carnahan said. He predicts that the courts will force the drawing of a new map -- by legislators or judges -- within the next few months.

The congressman said he's gotten "great encouragement from his supporters and donors" to continue raising money for a 2012 contest, even if it wasn't clear yet where his district lines will be.

Carnahan sent out a fundraising email early Saturday that made some of the same points. He wrote, in part, "While the core of the district I represent will almost certainly stay intact, the exact boundaries will not be final until the pending court case is completed early next year."

On Saturday, the congressman showed up a 5K charity run on the Hill, and then mingled with holiday shoppers on Cherokee Street. He said concerns about the economy continue to be the top topic on people's minds.

Next Saturday, Carnahan is holding a fundraising event at a restaurant in the Central West End, which is in the current and future 1st District. He said his campaign-finance totals reported at the end of January will document his success in raising money.

He dismissed any conjecture that there may be some political significance to the locations of his various campaign or congressional events, particularly those not in his current 3rd District.

"I wouldn't read a whole lot into that," Carnahan said.

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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