Missouri AG candidates notch newspaper endorsements

By Chris Amico | Jul 28, 2008

Jeff Harris (D)

Margaret Donnelly (D)

Chris Koster (D)

JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri (Legal Newsline)--Democratic state Reps. Jeff Harris and Margaret Donnelly each picked up endorsements from Missouri's major metro newspapers this week in their race for attorney general.

Jay Nixon, the state's current attorney general, also a Democrat, is running for governor.

On the Republican side, state Sen. Michael Gibbons is running unopposed, and newspapers have largely focused on the increasingly tense Democratic primary, where four candidates are fighting a close battle for their party's nomination.

The winner of the Aug. 5 Democratic primary will go up against Gibbons in November.

Harris earned a resounding endorsement from the Kansas City Star, which also praised Donnelly.

"Harris and Donnelly both show integrity," the newspaper wrote. "Harris, however, has an edge based on his leadership role and prosecutorial experience. As the former Democratic leader in the Missouri House, he effectively managed diverse interests, which is no small task."

The editorial board credited the Democratic legislative leader with "sound ideas," including an emphasis on open government and public records, consumer protection, and a more independent Office of Public Counsel, the office that represents consumers in utility rate issues.

He would move the position to the attorney general's office.

The Columbia Tribune, too, added its endorsement of Harris, "largely because we know him best," the newspaper said.

"For Harris, familiarity breeds support, not contempt," the newspaper wrote in its editorial.

Donnelly did better in St. Louis, where both the Post-Dispatch and the American backed her candidacy.

"She may not fit the physical profile of Missouri's lead prosecutor, but she is as competent and tough-minded as anyone in the race, and her established progressive credentials suggest her contribution to justice in Missouri would be a great public service," the St. Louis American wrote.

Opined the Post-Dispatch: "Mr. Harris is an impressive candidate, but the strength, heart and tenacity of Margaret Donnelly make her our choice."

Chris Koster, a Republican-turned-Democrat, doesn't list any news media endorsements, though he claims backing from a host of law enforcement groups.

The fourth Democrat, Molly Williams, is a political unknown and remains off most observers' radars.

The Kansas City Star wrote that she has "so far has refused to engage in anything resembling a campaign."

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