Martin drops Missouri Senate bid to run for Congress

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Republican attorney Ed Martin dropped out of the U.S. Senate race Monday and instead declared that he will run in a newly redrawn congressional district in suburban St. Louis.

Martin is the second Republican in two weeks to express an interest in the 2nd Congressional District — an indication that the incumbent in that district, Republican Todd Akin, may be edging closer to launching a challenge of Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. Akin said Monday he is seriously considering the Senate race and could announce a decision this month.

The political shuffling comes less than a week after the Missouri Legislature overrode a veto by Gov. Jay Nixon to enact new congressional district boundaries based on the 2010 census. The new map, which will take effect with the 2012 elections, consolidates Missouri’s nine current congressional districts into eight because the state’s population growth lagged that of the nation. The new map also accounts for population shifts within the state, such as the continued exodus of residents from St. Louis to its outer suburbs.

Some of the biggest changes will occur in the St. Louis area, where the 3rd District held by Democrat Russ Carnahan is being eliminated and split among four other districts.

Martin, who lost a challenge to Carnahan in the 2010 election, had announced Jan. 31 that he was running for Senate — making him the second Republican after former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman to enter the race. He said Monday that he changed course after seeing the boundaries for the new 2nd District.

When Martin ran for Congress last year, “it was out of concern for the direction of the county and what my wife and I call the ‘rah, rah St. Louis, what’s going on in the neighborhood,’” Martin said. “When the 2nd was redrawn, it has a lot of the people that were in my old 3rd (District). It just fits my personality and family.”

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