Developer Sam Hamra spent big money on Matt Blunt and he expects to get something for his investment. Reporter Terry Ganey's article in today's Columbia Tribune features this interesting exchange:
Hamra wrote Gov. Matt Blunt on Dec. 11 asking him to use his influence to get the MHDC to approve state subsidies for three of Hamra’s projects. In the letter, Hamra said he had raised $400,000 for Blunt’s campaigns and that he expected Blunt to be loyal to his friends. John Hancock, a spokesman for the Blunt campaign, said Hamra helped raise about $100,000.
Hamra threatened to switch allegiance to Attorney General Jay Nixon, a Democrat who is opposing Blunt, a Republican, in the 2008 governor’s race. Hamra’s letter said Nixon had visited him the day Hamra was writing the letter and was seeking Hamra’s political support.
Blunt rejected Hamra’s letter, saying it was "the most offensive and improper communication I have ever received." In a written response, the governor said the letter asked him to do things "I would never consent to do."
Blunt wrote that if he and Nixon were opponents for the same office, "I suggest you support him."
"I am not for sale," Blunt said. "Perhaps he is."
I find that last quote fascinating, especially considering the approach the governor has taken with education. The pro-voucher group All Children Matter poured hundreds of thousands into Blunt's first campaign for governor, and has been rewarded with one pro-voucher nomination after another to the State Board of Education (Donayle Whitmore-Smith, Debi Demien, Derio Gambaro).
Perhaps the governor is not for sale to people who are in the same business as Carlson Gardner.