Monday, October 26, 2009

Long Nets Another 'Get'

Tom Carter, a key Republican player in the 7th Congressional district and a prolific fundraiser for Congressman Roy Blunt, has signed on to help Billy Long's U.S. House campaign, The Notebook has learned.

Carter, who was said to be deciding between Long and Sen. Jack Goodman's campaign, notified the Goodman camp of his decision late last week.

Long said he was thrilled to have Carter's endorsement.

"No one knows the 7th District like Tom," said Long. "I know Tom was close to Hal Donaldson so I didn't bug him until Hal decided not to run. I called Tom the day Hal announced his decision and have been trying to get his endorsement ever since," Long added.

Goodman's campaign declined to comment.

The pick-up for Long continues a series of good news bits for a campaign that appears to be gaining momentum less than ten months from the August 2010 primary. Long's fundraising numbers have turned heads among political insiders from Branson to Jefferson City.

Long's campaign operation is also more willing to play up its positive developments in the media than his two other main rivals.

Carter will not hold an official role on Long's campaign team, but rather assist with fundraising and grass roots efforts. Carter did not immediately return a call for comment Monday evening.

Carter's alliance with Long also sets up an intriguing inner-party dynamic. Carter, who used to manage license fee offices along with his wife Leslie during Gov. Matt Blunt's administration, is also helping 4th District GOP candidate Vicky Hartzler.

Hartzler's main rival for the nomination is Sen. Bill Stouffer, whose campaign is being run by Kansas City-based GOP consultant Jeff Roe. Roe has also gotten behind Long's effort and is expected to be ramping up his engagement in the 7th District in the coming months.

Goodman has a familiar GOP name leading his fundraising efforts. Heather Grote,was the chief fundraiser for Sen. Kit Bond's political action committee, KITPAC, and has also signed onto Blunt's U.S. Senate campaign.

But Goodman's third quarter fundraising effort was widely seen as a disappointment, putting more pressure on Grote and the rest of the campaign to keep up with Long in the remaining months of the year.

Multiple sources also say that Goodman's camp is angling to get Greene County prosecutor Darrell Moore out of the race.

One consultant, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Goodman is worried about Moore peeling away potential support.

But former Blunt chief of staff and GOP player Gregg Hartley also signaled Monday that Long may want Moore out of the race.

"Caller tells me both Goodman and Long trying to get Darrell Moore out of primary in MO-7th congressional; good reasons for him to resist," Hartley wrote in a Twitter post.

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