Ed Martin Changes Races, Again

I was concerned when Bill Hennessy posted about Ed Martin changing races for the second time this election cycle. First, he was running for the Senate. Then, he was running for the 2nd District Congressional seat. Now, he’s running for Missouri State Attorney General.

I’ve supported Ed Martin in his race for the Missouri 3rd Congressional District race in 2010, and I’ve supported him in his quest for both legislative positions this year. I’ll probably pull the lever for him in November for the Attorney General. But the continuing changes give me pause.

It’s not only because the likely suspects are going to call him a flip-flopper or indecisive. Like Jake Wegman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Ed Martin has finally found a race that is just right.

After already switching his campaign from a bid for U.S. Senate to a push for a U.S. House seat, the St. Louis Republican announced Thursday that he is running for Missouri attorney general — a surprise move that shifts the November ballot equation for the state GOP.

Steve Kraske of the Kansas City Star, in a post entitled Ed Martin pulls the ol’ switcheroo, will drop congressional bid to run for Missouri AG, quotes the state Democratic Party:

After declaring for Missouri’s 2nd and 3rd Congressional districts, the United States Senate and flirting with a run for Governor — all in just the last 24 months, Ed has now announced his intentions to run for Attorney General. This most recent announcement makes five offices in the past two years that Ed has actively sought. We welcome Ed to the race for how ever long he decides to stay.

No, the newspapers and the Democratic Party are the expected bunch who would make light of this and try to turn that to their advantage. I’m not worried about them.

I don’t know what went into Martin’s decision to change races here, but from the outside, I can say what it might look like: he was looking for the easiest race to win and/or he reached some accommodation with the establishment Republican in the race, Ann Wagner. I can understand either or both, really, because I know to be really effective, Tea Party-friendly candidates have to work within the Republican Party structure.

However, there are some Tea Party supporters who are more uncompromising in their beliefs and are not as willing to work within the confines of the Republican Party. To them, Martin’s decisions might look like a man too eager to get into elected office, any elected office. Some of the more vocal of them might convince others to vote Libertarian for the attorney general’s race.

Although the large media might look to portray the Tea Party as a united force to disparage, it’s really diverse and has its own fracture lines. Hopefully, Mr. Martin won’t take the entirety of the Tea Party movement for granted or think that all of them follow the preferences of the St. Louis offices thereof. I hope Mr. Martin can, during his campaign, explain why he should serve as Missouri Attorney General and allay these misgivings.