MO Congressional Race Turns Ugly After Shoddy Hit Piece on Ann Wagner

The race for Missouri’s Second Congressional District turned ugly thanks to a shoddy hit this week by the Martin team on conservative Ann Wagner. Unfortunately, Steven Nelson at Daily Caller published the misinformation verbatim and forgot to fact check his work.

Nelson forgot about the Ronald Reagan dictum, “trust but verify.” 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. A simple Google search could have prevented this sloppy error that has now been reported in a credible conservative blog.

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. A simple search of publicly-available documents would have alerted Martin’s campaign and the Daily Caller to the actual facts. Ray Wagner’s highest ethical standards stand in sharp contrast to the Martin-machine’s attempt to go after a spouse and his employer in the Republican primary.

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’s 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 this year ($145,000) than Martin was able to raise from his remaining donors last quarter (115,000). This 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 conservatives 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 LA not a conservative candidate for Congress. It also raises the specter of class warfare. The Daily Caller ought to check out 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.

UPDATE: The contributors to the Daily Caller hit piece say they are not connected to the Ed Martin campaign. Rather, they are volunteers and supporters of Ed Martin. My apologies to the Martin team.

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