Environmental groups target Blunt in close Missouri Senate race

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) launched an effort Wednesday to tip the scales in the close Missouri Senate race against Rep. Roy Blunt (R) by playing up oil-industry contributions to the conservative lawmaker.

LCV named Blunt to its “Dirty Dozen” list of candidates whom it will work against in the 2010 cycle.

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Blunt, who is in his seventh term, faces a tight contest this year against Democrat Robin Carnahan, who is currently Missouri’s secretary of state. Incumbent Sen. Kit Bond (R) is not seeking reelection.

“In his 12 years in office, Rep. Roy Blunt has taken good care of Big Oil by maintaining their costly tax breaks while continually voting against opportunities to create clean energy jobs, reduce pollution and improve fuel economy for Missourians,” said Tony Massaro, LCV’s senior vice president for political affairs, in a prepared statement.

The group is highlighting the over $460,000 that Blunt has received from oil and gas interests during his House career, and his votes against repealing incentives for domestic production that critics call needless taxpayer giveaways. Blunt also opposed the sweeping climate change and energy bill the House approved last year.

Blunt’s campaign shot back that he is “honored to learn he is one of only a dozen leaders who have been recognized nationally for opposing policies that raise taxes, hurt families and kill jobs.”

"Roy Blunt is proud to oppose these environmental extremists who want to kill Missouri jobs and increase taxes and appreciates the acknowledgment that he is one of the fiercest opponents of their radical agenda," said Blunt spokesman Rich Chrismer in a statement Wednesday.

LCV spokeswoman Kate Geller said the group has not yet decided on the contour of its campaign against Blunt. But she noted that past LCV campaigns have included ads, canvassing, phone calls, direct mail and other tactics.

It is also not clear how much they will spend in the Missouri race. The group spent $1.5 million on its overall Dirty Dozen campaign in 2008, she said.

Update: LCV co-sponsored a fundraiser for Carnahan in Seattle last month, but has not yet made an official endorsement in the race.

This post was updated at 2:40 p.m.