Ed Martin. (Photo/MOGOP)
– Ed Martin’s political operation is considering mounting a challenge to St. Louis businessman Dave Spence for the Republican nomination for Governor next year, according to a new research memo authored by a close aide.
The memo, entitled simply, “Dave Spence Background Research-Part 1,” was distributed anonymously Sunday evening by a group calling itself “Missourians for a Conservative Governor.” But at closer examination, the PDF file appears to be authored by Steven Michael, political director for Martin’s current congressional campaign.
The document, distributed on Facebook, Twitter, and to an email release list, criticizes Spence’s inconsistencies regarding his ties to the controversial Troubled Assets Relief Program in 2009, and his past campaign contribution to Democratic New York U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer.
Michael’s name appears in the document’s meta data, data attached to any document one publishes.
This research release is similar to another release late last year when Martin was preparing for his campaign for U.S. Senate against Sarah Steelman. An anonymous conservative using the pseudonym “Francis Marion” criticized Steelman’s ties to trial attorneys and other issues worrisome to tea party conservatives.
Martin gave up the Senate bid and launched his congressional campaign in the 2nd District against Republican Ann Wagner, but the push by his political director against Spence suggests Martin may be readying for a new statewide bid.
In addition to Martin, State Auditor Tom Schweich is also seriously pondering a run for governor, according to multiple sources close to Schweich.
The push-back from Martin and Schweich types signifies growing unease with Spence, a St. Louis packaging executive who announced his campaign for Governor this month around the same time Lt. Governor Peter Kinder announced he would not run.
Martin was unresponsive to requests for comment, but since PoliticMo inquired, the Facebook page has been removed and a Tweet at @Mo4ConservGov has been deleted.