Chris Koster to become Missouri's new attorney general

Chris Rizo Jan. 12, 2009, 1:22am

Chris Koster (D)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline)-Democrat Chris Koster will be sworn in today as Missouri's new attorney general.

After just narrowly winning the Democratic primary, Koster went on to handily beat fellow state Sen. Michael Gibbons, the Republican nominee for attorney general, in the Nov. 4 general election.

Koster will succeed Democratic Attorney General Jay Nixon, who will be sworn in as the state's 55th governor after Koster, the state's new Democratic Treasurer Clint Zweifel, returning Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and returning Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder are administered the oath of office.

On his transition team's Web site, Koster said his office plans to tackle such issues as consumer and financial fraud and violations of workers' rights in the state.

During the campaign, Koster, among other things, said as the state's chief legal officer he would fight predatory lenders, aggressively enforce the state's environmental laws and crackdown on cybercrime.

Republicans had fought to take the attorney general's office, which had been held by Nixon for four terms.

The Republican State Leadership Committee, which works to get GOP candidates elected to statewide offices, gave Gibbons's general election campaign a $1.1 million contribution.

For its part, the Democratic Attorney Generals Association pumped $200,000 into Koster's campaign coffers after his bruising and expensive race against state Reps. Margaret Donnelly and Jeff Harris for the Democratic nomination.

Koster, a Republican-turned-Democrat, won his party's nomination, beating out Donnelly by 829 votes.

His candidacy turned particularly colorful after his ex-wife, Rebecca Nassikas, began pumping money into efforts to defeat her former husband.

Nassikas and her father, Frank Bowman, gave a combined $230,000 to the Gibbons campaign Oct. 3. During the Democratic primary she donated $200,000 to a group that produced an ad critical of Koster's candidacy.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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