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Major GOP players -- Perry, Christie, Gingrich -- to descend on Missouri

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 20, 2012 - Missouri may not be a presidential battleground, but the state is still a magnet for major Republicans.

On Sunday and Monday, three of the GOP’s biggest names – former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie – will fly into the state to help Republican statewide and congressional candidates.

Christie is to be in Springfield on Sunday to headline a rally for Dave Spence, a Kirkwood businessman who’s running for governor.

(Update) The rally is open to the public, and begins at 3 p.m. at the Ramada Oasis Convention Center, 2546 North Glenstone in Springfield. Spence's campaign calls Christie "a captivating public speaker and a top Mitt Romney surrogate." (End update)

Perry will be in Missouri on Monday for two events – one to help raise money for U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, R-Tarkio. Perry will then travel to Columbia, Mo., for a rally for St. Louis lawyer Ed Martin, who’s running for Missouri attorney general.

And in St. Louis on Monday, as the Beacon reported earlier, Gingrich is to be in town as the chief speaker at an event for embattled U.S. Senate nominee Todd Akin. Like Akin, Gingrich – who made an unsuccessful bid for president this year -- often has found himself at odds with national GOP leaders.

Earlier this week, another marquee Republican – U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida – was in town for a private fundraiser to help Martin, who is seeking to counter the financial edge of the Democratic incumbent, Attorney General Chris Koster.

Koster also is on TV with an ad attacking Martin. An independent PAC is now running an ad attacking Koster, presumably on Martin’s behalf.

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