The race for Missouri’s Second Congressional District turned ugly thanks to a shoddy hit this week by the Ed Martin campaign on conservative Ann Wagner. Unfortunately, Steven Nelson at Daily Caller published the misinformation, and missed several important facts.
Martin’s team claims that Enterprise Rent-A-Car from St. Louis made a play for TARP funds in the hit piece. Wrong. Enterprise is actually on the record saying, in effect, that they don’t want the TARP funds and they don’t need the TARP funds.
The Martin camp claims, and Nelson writes, that Wagner’s husband Ray is a “registered lobbyist.” Oops. Wrong again. Ray Wagner actually de-registered as a lobbyist prior to Ann’s campaign kick-off last July, as a simple search of publicly-available documents reveals.
And what about those claims that Enterprise Rent-A-Car is attempting to “buy a US House seat?” Consider that Wagner has raised nearly $1 million from donors who are not Enterprise-related. Consider that Enterprise is one of the largest employers in Missouri and has over 70,000 employees world-wide. For the Wagner campaign to receive donations from dozens of Enterprise employees is hardly a surprise, given that those relationships have been developed for nearly two decades. The Martin Campaign is wrong to attack Ann Wagner for her record fundraising.
Speaking of donors – it is also interesting to note that Wagner has also raised over $145,000 from donors who supported Ed Martin during his 2010 campaign. No wonder the Martin camp is so upset with Wagner’s cash haul. Wagner actually collected more from former Martin donors ($145,000) than Martin was able to raise from his remaining donors last quarter ($115,000). That obviously has Ed Martin worried. Hence, the attack on Ann Wagner, her husband, their friends, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
It also must hurt to watch a series of notable conservative endorse Ann Wagner – John Ashcroft, John Bolton, Mike Huckabee, and Chris Christie–to name a few.
But resorting to attacks on local job-creators is something you’d expect from a goon at #Occupy–not a conservative candidate for Congress. It also raises the specter of class warfare. Journalists should think twice, and check the facts, before they run with an Ed Martin campaign attack next time.
One final point: both Ed Martin and Ann Wagner are friends of mine and capable conservatives–but this was a cheap hit on Ann Wagner. Ed Martin is a better person than this.