Likely U.S. Senate candidate Sarah Steelman is blasting a Republican Party press release that questions Robin Carnahan's support for the federal earmarking process.
In an open letter to all Missouri Republicans sent to reporters Friday evening, Steelman wrote that she was "bewildered" by one of the questions the State Republican Party wants Carnahan to answer at this weekend's Democrat Days in Hannibal, Mo.
Earlier Friday, former GOP executive director Jared Craighead sent out a release posing "10 Questions for Robin Carnahan." Number six reads: "Senator Bond supports worthwhile projects for Missouri in Congress. Senator McCaskill won't. Would you join with Senator McCaskill, so that Missouri unilaterally disarms itself, and gets nothing while other states get projects in Congress?"
Steelman said she didn't have any problem with most of the questions, except that one. "However, I am bewildered by question no. 6," Steelman wrote, "which not only asks Robin Carnahan's position on the improper, inefficient, and corrupt practice of earmarking, which is an entirely appropriate question, but actually defends pork barrel spending at a time when most Republicans, at least those who don’t live in Washington D.C., are trying to stop the mounting and dangerous deficits."
"I don't believe that a majority of the state committee supports inefficient and wasteful spending. I know that a majority of Missourians don't," Steelman wrote. "The Missouri Republican Party should not proclaim earmark spending a virtue. It is not. This does nothing but harm the efforts of principled politicians of both parties, who recognize that the old way of doing business; earmarks, pork, and a lack of accountability, has cost America jobs, security, and confidence. The old ways can no longer be tolerated."
Steelman will likely challenge Congressman Roy Blunt in the 2010 GOP primary for U.S. Senate. Carnahan is the likely Democratic nominee. It's unclear why the GOP press release was sent out by Craighead, and not Lloyd Smith, who was elected the new executive director of the party last month.
Steelman's letter closes, "I have been asked how the Republican Party lost its Congressional majority. One of the major reasons, in my opinion, is that our party no longer has credibility on fiscal issues. I want our party to flourish and expand and to help lead the country out of this economic disaster. But why would anyone believe in our principles when Republican elected officials don't? We can no longer be the party that says one thing and does another. We must restore fiscal restraint and discipline. We must be the party that supports ethical reform by holding our elected officials to a higher standard of public service than exists today. We must always remember that Congress is spending taxpayer’s money – it belongs to the people – and it should be spent prudently."