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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Battle of the MO CD 1 Twit(ter)s

The primary races in Missouri's 1st Congressional District are certainly getting interesting. The contest on the GOP side has been well documented by Cry Liberty, but if you want entertainment the real fun is the Democrat primary.

This past weekend, the League of Women Voters held a candidate forum at an adult daycare center on Washington Ave. Both GOP candidates, Martin Baker and Robyn Hamlin, were present. Candice Britton and Russ Carnahan (currently serving in MO 3, the district that was lost due to redistricting after the 2010 census) represented the Democrats. Lacy Clay, the MO 1 incumbent, declined his invitation to the event. Robb Cunningham, the Libertarian candidate, failed to respond to the invitation altogether.

The candidates were given specific rules prior to the forum. They were not to mention the candidates who were not present, and they were not to attack or direct comments toward other candidates, whether present or not. During his introduction, Russ Carnahan spoke mostly about MO 1 incumbent Congressman Clay. He talked about his poor attendance record and his support of predatory lending businesses such as payday loan companies and rent-to-own furniture companies. He failed to tell anyone why he SHOULD be elected because he spent most of his time telling people why Clay should NOT get another term. The moderator waited for Carnahan to finish, then immediately chastised him for breaking the preset rules. Since Carnahan was only the second candidate introduced, I would almost have preferred that they didn't interrupt and remind everyone of the rules. It would have been interesting to see if anyone else would have followed Carnahan's mudslinging lead - especially since the next up to introduce herself was Robyn Hamlin, whose campaign thus far has consisted mainly of attacks on both Clay and Carnahan and snide remarks concerning fellow GOP candidate Martin Baker.

But the fun doesn't stop there. And not to worry, Lacy Clay gets his shots in too. The real battle is currently being waged on Twitter. With the advent of social media, politicians have learned quickly that Twitter and Facebook are fast and easy ways to connect with constituents and potential voters. (Sometimes the connection is a little bit too efficient, as Congressman Clay learned firsthand when news of his divorce filing reached his wife through social media rather than private channels.) But it seems that the animosity between Congressman Clay and Congressman Carnahan apparently supersedes any lesson he may have learned...

Exhibit A:

 Exhibit B:

Exhibit C:

Exhibit D:

Exhibit E:

Exhibit F:

At this point, I have to wonder if they will ever learn. But even if they don't, at least we can grab our popcorn and monitor Twitter for a few laughs.

*One point I find especially amusing - Clay actually says in one tweet that namecalling is "the last resort of those who are out of ideas."  I wonder if he's noticed that the majority of his recent tweets would qualify as backhanded insults and namecalling.

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