Koster's bid for Missouri Attorney General's Office picks up steam

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Chris Koster, who is currently representing the 31st District in the Missouri Senate, has officially thrown his hat into the ring in the 2008 race for the Missouri Attorney General's seat.

In late October, Koster formally announced his candidacy, although many had speculated he would do so, and he had been assembling his war chest in preparation for such a move for months.

On a Web site dedicated to the campaign, www.chris-koster.com, Koster touts recent news reports, the support of a host of labor unions -- International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Missouri State Council of Firefighters, the Carpenters District Council of Kansas City and Vicinity, the Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO, and Amalgamated Transportation Union Local No. 1287 -- and a makes reference to his 2002 prosecution of notorious serial killer John Robinson while he was serving as Cass County prosecutor, for good measure.

Koster raised eyebrows and more than a little ire from Republicans in August, when he announced his switch from the GOP to the Democratic Party.

At the time, Koster told the Associated Press that he had determined that he is more aligned with Democrats than Republicans on several issues, including stem cell research, workers' rights, minimum wage and leaving intact Missouri's current judiciary system.

''Today, Republican moderates are all but extinct,'' Koster said Aug. 1, as he made formal announcements of his party switch at three sites throughout the state.

Republicans cried foul, saying he should resign his Senate seat and return campaign funds raised before he announced the party switch. Paul Sloca, communications director for the Missouri Republican Party, said the switch was a "slap in the face," to those who supported him as a Republican. Koster did neither. and Koster's spokeswoman Elisabeth Smith disagreed with Sloca, saying, "The vast majority of people who donate to Chris Koster do so because they share his vision, not because of the letter after his name. The voters of the 31st district sent Senator Koster to Jefferson City to use his best judgment. He campaigned as a moderate, was elected as a moderate, has voted as a moderate and will continue to serve as a moderate. The main thing that has changed is his party affiliation."

Republicans charged that Koster didn't believe he could win a Republican primary.

Koster later defended the switch further in an opinion column in a St. Louis newspaper, detailing his belief that "on so many of the critical issues of our day, it is Democrats and not Republicans who have shared my beliefs and fought by my side.

"When Republicans restricted the ability of the severely injured to seek recovery against wrongdoers, I stood with Democrats against the giant insurance companies of this state. When we attempted to increase day care coverage for children of the working poor -- the pre-school-aged children of single mothers earning less than $7.10/hour -- I received little help from Republicans but widespread support from Democrats.

"And when Missouri was given the unparalleled opportunity to embrace world-class medical re-search institutions in pursuit of life-saving cures, I joined with Democrats to stop Republican efforts to imprison doctors and drive such medical research from our state.

"The core issues I have fought for in the past are the same issues I will fight for in the future."

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