The backing from the politically connected Hartley comes at a time when some Republicans were privately speculating about the long-term future of Nodler's campaign. To some it's an unusual move from a Washington, D.C. lobbyist who has maintained a relatively low-profile in Missouri politics and not lived in the district for years.
"I endorse Gary Nodler and will actively work with folks in SW Missouri to ensure his election; I urge others to join this important campaign," Hartley wrote on his Twitter page. "I believe the best candidate in primary has the experience as a former congressional aide, business advocate & current legislative leader," he wrote.
Hartley is the vice chairman and chief operating officer of Cassidy & Associates, a high-powered lobbyist group in Washington that currently employs former Gov. Matt Blunt and former Democratic operative Roy Temple. Hartley was Roy Blunt's closest advisor in Congress for 18 years.
In his posts, Hartley suggested that Nodler, the Senate Appropriations Chair, would be the best Republican able to preserve the "unique influence of the 7th."
But Hartley also has his own influence and interests to protect. Hartley's Cassidy & Associates has represented Eagle-Picher Technologies in Joplin between 2004 and 2009. Federal lobbyist disclosure reports show that Eagle-Picher has paid Cassidy between $70,000 and $120,000 a quarter for work during that time period.
During this past legislative session, Nodler landed $25 million dollars for the company. He disputed that the money was an "earmark," but critics labeled it "corporate welfare."
Notably, Sen. Jack Goodman, a rival of Nodler's in the 7th District primary, voted against the $25 million dollar provision for Eagle-Picher.
According to Hartley's Twitter page, he was visiting Southwest Missouri to meet with clients to discuss "batteries, education and manufacturing." He also said he met with Sen. Nodler during his trip.