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Koster, Greitens spar over term limits


ST. LOUIS – Eric Greitens’ campaign has pursued a new avenue of attack against Attorney General Chris Koster in what has become an underdog bid for the Governor’s Mansion.

In an email release Monday, Greitens lambasted Koster’s opposition to legislative term limits.

“He’s a crooked career politician who represents everything that is wrong in Jeff City,” Greitens said in the email. “It’s no surprise that a career politician who has spent 20-plus years in office believes that the answer to the problems Missouri faces is more career politicians.”

The former Navy SEAL has stated as part of his ethics reform platform that he would institute term limits on all statewide offices. Currently, only the governor and state treasurer are limited to two four-year terms. The lieutenant governor, state auditor, attorney general and secretary of state can all serve indefinitely, provided they continue to get elected.

Koster opposed term limits well before he officially began his run for governor. He has argued that the complexities of working in the Capitol means that expertise on the subject of lawmaking and policy is rare.

“As soon as people really learn the task at hand we make them leave,” he said in an interview with PoliticMO in 2014. “It’s a tragedy that basically as soon as people learn the difference between Medicare and Medicaid and a few more other things about state government they have to go back home.”

Eric Greitens announcing his candidacy for Governor.
Eric Greitens announcing his candidacy for Governor.

Koster has also said that lobbyists, who Greitens said he would “throw down the steps of the Capitol himself” when he officially announced his candidacy for governor, have actually gained more power in Jefferson City as a result of term limits.

A major component of Greitens campaign has been his status as a political “outsider” bent on destroying what many see as a broken establishment. That sentiment has been popular this year. It served Greitens well in the primary, garnering him over 35 percent of the vote in a field of four candidates, and it has also fueled national campaigns like those of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and even the ultimately unsuccessful Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic race.

Despite the growing wave of populism, Koster continues to tout his experience in government as prosecutor, state senator and attorney general. He has also earned endorsements from traditionally conservative groups, including the National Rifle Association and the Missouri Farm Bureau, in part for the work he has done within government advocating for legislation favored by those organizations.

In the latest poll from The Missouri Times, Koster leads Greitens by 10 points six weeks ahead of the election.