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Romney Gains Fans in St. Louis

The former Massachusetts governor announced a raft of endorsements from Missouri political figures, including a number from the St. Louis area.

As former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney continues his comeback in the polls, he’s also picking up support from Republicans in the Show Me State.

Romney's campaign – which already grabbed endorsements from U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo. – rolled out a press release this week showcasing more endorsements from Republican politicians. That includes a few  from the St. Louis area.

“I am honored to have these Missouri leaders behind my campaign,” Romney said in a statement. “With their help, I look forward to getting America back to work. Earning the support of Missouri voters will be critical in this campaign.”

Included in the list are:

  •      State Auditor Tom Schweich
  •      Senate Majority Leader Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles
  •      Former Senate President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons, R-Kirkwood
  •      Former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, R-Warson Woods
  •      Franklin County Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer
  •      Rep. Cloria Brown, R-St. Louis County

“I am proud to stand behind Mitt Romney in his campaign for president,” said Schweich, a Clayton native, in a statement. “His experience in the private sector makes him the best candidate in the race to turn around our economy. He will provide the much needed leadership in Washington to get Americans back to work and restore fiscal sanity in government.”

Romney had been the frontrunner in the 2012 race for the White House for months. But that status changed when Texas Gov. Rick Perry jumped into the fray and shot up in national opinion polls. Yet, Perry dipepd in the polls after a poor series of debate performances and a disappointing showing the Florida straw poll.

Romney also got a boost this week when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declined to run for the presidency once again.

It will be interesting to see how Romney performs in Missouri, a state where Republicans recently switched from a primary to a caucus to select delegates to their national convention. The caucus system could allow for other candidates – such as U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas – to gain a foothold.

And of course, the last Republican who won Missouri during primary season – Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona – had very few politicians backing his presidential bid.

PALIN COMING TO ST. LOUIS PATCHLAND

Former Alaska Governor and GOP Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin announced Wednesday that she would not seek the party's presidential nomination in 2012. 

In a statement, Palin said "I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office – from the nation’s governors to Congressional seats and the Presidency."

In the meantime, she is scheduled to join Glenn Beck in an event entitled, "Defending The Republic" Friday night at the Family Arena in St. Charles.

St. Charles Patch will have live blog coverage from the event, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Town and Country - Manchester Patch plans to carry the live blog so check back to this site Friday night.

CARNAHAN BOWS OUT

Further down the ticket, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced late last week that she will not run for re-election.

 “After 8 years as Secretary of State, the time will be right for me to return to private life, to gather new ideas and experiences and a fresh perspective,” Carnahan said in a letter to supporters. “But my commitment to public service won’t stop, because I know the challenges facing our country can’t be solved in Washington or Jefferson City alone. It will take ideas, energy and the daily commitment and determination of all of us.”

Carnahan – the daughter of former Gov. Mel Carnahan and the sister of U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis City – was decisively defeated last year in a contest for a U.S. Senate seat by Blunt. She won re-election in 2008 by a wide margin against a placeholder GOP candidate.

Incumbent down-ballot statewide officials – such as secretary of state and treasurer –  rarely lose re-election. And so Carnahan may have been favored to win a third term if she would have run again. Instead, an open seat race could provide Republicans with an opportunity to take back the office for the first time since 2000.

Sen. Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville, and Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, are running for the GOP nomination for the office. And state Rep. Jason Kander, D-Kansas City, announced his entry into the race shortly after Carnahan bowed out.

ASHCROFT’S BATTING AVERAGE

Former Missouri Governor and  U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has thrown his support behind Republican Ann Wagner’s congressional bid. Her campaign released word of the endorsement Saturday, just prior to Wagner first debate against Republican attorney Ed Martin in the race for the 2nd Congressional District.

Ashcroft – a Springfield native who also served as state auditor, Missouri attorney general, and U.S. Senator – hasn’t been shy about endorsing candidates since he left political life behind. And some of his endorsements have gone to eventual victors.

For instance, Ashcroft backed Chesterfield Republican Jane Cunningham’s successful state Senate bid in 2008. He also endorsed Schweich in last year’s GOP primary for auditor and Blunt in last year’s Republican U.S. Senate primary. Both beat their primary opponents decisively.

Still, Ashcroft’s backing hasn’t always been automatic. He endorsed Republican Todd Tihart’s unsuccessful push for a U.S. Senate seat in Kansas. And he also backed Wagner’s failed bid to become chairwoman of the Republican National Committee.  

Wagner has also snagged endorsements from Blunt and Christie.

About this column: A look around the region at the week that was in electoral politics and a glimpse of the week to come.
 

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