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Schmitt beats Finneran in attorney general race with ‘law and order’ message

Attorney General Eric Schmitt beat Democratic challenger Rich Finneran Tuesday, securing a full term in the Attorney General’s Office. 

Schmitt won with nearly 60 percent of the vote, raking in more than 1.7 million votes compared to Finneran’s 1.1. million. Schmitt’s victory was part of a Republican sweep seen across the statewide races. 

“Missourians tonight made clear they want an attorney general who will fight every day for law and order and their constitutional liberties. They rejected calls to defund the police and supported tough on crime initiatives that will make our streets safer,” Schmitt said. “As the lawyer for 6 million Missourians, my job is to stand on the frontline for freedom and be the last line of defense. Everyone in this state deserves to feel safe and our kids have the right to grow up and pursue their dreams without fear of violence.”

The race was seen as yet another referendum on the “defund the police movement” and anti-crime policies that became prevalent in Missouri — as well as across the nation — in the lead up to the election. Finneran was left to defend his stance on law enforcement, arguing he did not side with those wishing to defund the police during the campaign, while Schmitt emerged as a “law and order” candidate. 

“As Missouri’s chief law enforcement official, I will continue working with the men & women of law enforcement to keep our citizens safe,” Schmitt said. 

The Republican incumbent was appointed to the Attorney General’s Office in 2018 after incumbent Josh Hawley was elected to the U.S. Senate. Schmitt served in the Missouri Senate from 2009 to 2017 before serving as state treasurer for two years. He came into Election Day with more than $400,000, while his MO Opportunity PAC reported $35,000 on hand. 

He has prioritized taking on Missouri’s backlog of untested rape kits as well as cracking down on human trafficking in Missouri. Schmitt has also joined the federal government on numerous issues, from a recent antitrust suit against Google to another seeking to hold the Chinese government responsible over the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Finneran is a former assistant U.S. District Attorney in St. Louis. He told The Missouri Times earlier this year his goals in office would have been health care, the criminal justice system, and accountability. He came into Election Day with $77,000 cash on hand. 

On social media, Finneran said Missourians should expect to “hear more from me soon.” 

We fought hard, but it looks like we came up short tonight. I called AG Schmitt a few moments ago to congratulate him on his victory. 

“The race is over, but our fight is not,” Finneran said. “I will keep fighting for integrity and accountability in our state government, and I hope you will too.”

Cameron Gerber contributed to this report.