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PubDef has video of 5th Senatorial District candidate Connie Johnson’s presser yesterday, and it’s a doozy. The first part is Johnson delivering a statement in which she defends her residency and more importantly rips her opponents. Stalking horse? I don’t think so. Hubbard gets it for raking in contributions from Sinquefield and McKee, amounting to a third of his warchest. Wright-Jones gets a lashing for her attendance record while a real estate crisis hits St. Louis. The second part is the grilling Johnson gets from local reporters on her residency.

A couple of thoughts on this. First, as I’ve said before, I don’t expect that Rep. Johnson will be disqualified, because Missouri law has a very loose definition of residency, and further, that as long as Johnson runs a half-way decent campaign, nobody will care about this residency flap in the end. Several lawmakers in the St. Louis area won election with far more tenuous claims to their districts than Johnson has.

That leads me to my next point. Johnson did a good job in her statement of hitting her opponents hard, as two rivals nervous about her candidacy and eager to distract from the big issues. But she never directly mentions what those big issues are, nor does she mention what accomplishments her opponents are trying to distract voters’ attention from. I still haven’t heard her make a positive case for voters to choose her as a state senator. The most I got out of that statement was that she does indeed live in the district, and that she seeks to maintain the historical African American representation of the district. Well, she’s hardly unique in that race in either of those cases.

Pubdef’s videos, and Connie’s statement, are below the flip.

Part 1:

Thank you all for coming out this morning.

I have called this press conference because I, like most Americans, am tired of the politics of hit and run. I like most Americans am weary of the politics of distraction and dishonesty. And I like most Americans, believe that elected officials have a responsibility to serve their constituents-not themselves.

From the moment I entered this race my opponents have in one fashion or another panicked. Rodney Hubbard panicked and was able to convince his Right wing Republican Billionaire to kick in 50 more contributions–1/3 of his total and Robin Wright Jones panicked and filed a frivolous lawsuit in order to bring some light and attention to her struggling year old campaign for this Senate Seat.

For the record I am flattered by their fear and I appreciate their recognition of the impact of my candidacy. However, for the record, I am deeply concerned about their tactics and where these tactics take us as a community and as members of the Democratic Party.

Ten months ago I told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that I would not be part of events that would facilitate the elimination of an African American Senate Seat. Ten months ago I said: “As a statesman I have to look at the big picture and the big picture is the importance of preserving history and having African American representation in the 5th Senatorial district.”

As fate or providence would have it, four days before filing closed, the only white Candidate in contention decided not to run. There was now no danger of our community losing representation. So, I had a decision to make-do I now run for this Senate Seat? Do I run for a seat that has been historically, from Jet Banks to Paula Carter, located in the heart of North Saint Louis?

My decision was an easy one–of course I would run.

I would run because now I would be able to lay my head down at night knowing that not only would my Community be able to ensure African American Representation, but they would now have the choice of the most qualified, principled and credentialed African American Representation.

My decision to run was founded upon a love of community and a passion to ensure equal representation for all. These belief sets are also shared by the Democratic Party.

My opponents however have pounced upon my filing and attempted to use it as a means of distraction from the serious issues that confront our communities.

Downtown St Louis for the past 6 years under the direction and leadership of realtor Robin Wright Jones and the 63rd district, is in the middle of a real estate crisis-unfilled lofts, bankrupt developers, and a huge muddy empty hole in the middle of Ball park village. I have often wondered as Minority Whip, why Ms Wright Jones was missing so many important votes. I now see that she was quite busy-manufacturing stories and crafting frivolous lawsuits.

My other opponent is busy as well-missing votes, currying favor for the opposition and gathering right wing Republican cash.

Unfortunately, in the world of politics from Baraak Obama to Hillary Clinton, money does represent the bulk of the fuel that goes in to a political campaign. Operating on this political theory, my opponents hope that you will be so distracted by their lies and complaints about when I filed or where I live that their actions will hurt my fundraising efforts.

Well, I am here this morning to say enough. We as Democrats have a responsibility to address our serious issues–not manufacture, because we need money, political opportunities at the expense of the truth and at the expense of our constituents.

To this end I will have had my Attorney file the necessary motions that will put an end to this frivolous lawsuit filed by my desperate opponent.

Mark my words-I will be vindicated-these lies will not stand and I will be on the ballot in August.