Missouri police group sides with Carnahan in his congressional battle with Clay
The Missouri Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan in his increasingly spirited Aug. 7 primary contest with fellow Rep. William Lacy Clay in the redrawn 1st congressional district.
The new 1st District takes in all of the city of St. Louis, where police and firefighters groups can be powerful political players. The firefighters previously endorsed Carnahan.
Carnahan currently represents the 3rd District, which in effect is being dismantled under the new congressional boundary map for Missouri. About a quarter of the new 1st includes part of Carnahan's current district. Clay represents the current 1st District.
Clay already has begun airing radio ads. Neither candidate has gone on television yet.
The state police officers’ support for Carnahan is significant, since Clay has the endorsement of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and Gov. Jay Nixon.
The state police officers group represents over 5,300 members in the state.
“The Missouri Fraternal Orderof Police is proud to stand with Russ because of his record and understanding of the sacrifices that law enforcement officers make every day to keep our communities safe,” said Kevin Ahlbrand, President of the Missouri FOP. “We know that Russ will continue to fight on behalf of St. Louis region on issues critical to our officers and community such as jobs, education, health care, and public safety.”
Carnahan voted in 2011 in favor of the federal Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS) program, aimed at putting more police on the street.
Throughout my public service career I’ve always put the safety and security of the region amongst my highest priorities,” said Carnahan. “I’m truly honored to have the support of the Missouri FOP, I have tremendous respect for the law enforcement community and for all of the first responders that place the safety of our community first."
Said Mark Woolbright, 2nd District Vice President of the International Association of Fire Fighters: “Russ was there to secure important funding for training and equipment, like the new fireboats that will be used to better protect the waterfront and the stimulus funding to save 30 firefighter jobs.”
Carnahan also has gotten the endorsement of the Missouri chapter of the National Education Association, while Clay has won some key labor endorsements.
Both Clay and Carnahan have snagged endorsements from Democratic ward and township groups.
(Start of update) After appearing with Slay to announce $600,000 in federal money that the St. Patrick's Center downtown is receiving to help military veterans receive job training, Clay that he didn't have a reaction to Carnahan's endorsement.
(Carnahan's camp note that their office also had issued a statement about the grant to help veterans.)
"We both share the Missouri [National Education Association] endorsement, both share the Planned Parenthood endorsement," Clay said. "I mean look, the groups line up because of our years of service. And some side with me, and some side with him. I guess that's how this election has shaped up. I'm very confident about our ability to be victorious."
U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay answers questions from the media about his campaign against U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis.
When pressed whether he would run television ads that could place his opponent in a less-than-positive light, Clay said "he does not intend on going negative at all" against Carnahan.
"It doesn't help," he said. "It turns voters off to be negative. Why not just tout your record? And that's my view at this point. And we have made no decisions to be negative in this campaign."
Asked whether would not go negative even if Carnahan released a TV ad attacking him, Clay reiterated "we have not made any decisions to go negative."
"You know how these campaigns work," he said. "You sometimes respond when it's necessary. At this point, I don't intend on going negative." (End of update)
Beacon staff member Jason Rosenbaum provided information for this story.