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Schweich issues release to supporters targeting Schaefer

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo — Just a few days after Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, officially announced his intentions to run for Missouri Attorney General, fellow party member and one of only two Republicans to hold a statewide office, Auditor Tom Schweich, issued a release to his supporters calling Schaefer’s announcement “jumping the gun.”

Auditor Tom Schweich
Auditor Tom Schweich

“We still have elections to win in 2014,” Schweich wrote in his release. “Declaring a candidacy more than three years before the 2016 elections undermines our 2014 effort, and it opens the 2016 candidates up to three years of media scrutiny. Indeed, some damaging negative press has already appeared relative to those candidates who have been jumping the gun.”

Schweich — who is up for re-election in 2014 — said Democrats had made it a mission to undo the current Republican veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate. Schaefer joins Democrat and current attorney general Chris Koster in being one of the only candidates to officially declare his candidacy for higher office in 2016. Koster has already stated he will run for governor in 2016.

Schaefer’s announcement makes him the first Jefferson City Republican to officially throw his hat in the ring for attorney general. House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka has expressed interest in the seat, but has made no official announcement.

“My only announcement is that I want to be the best Speaker of the House over the next year that I can be,” Jones told The Missouri Times in a statement. “My focus is on having a good session, to work for the people of Missouri and if I earn the right to pursue some other office, then I will ask the people for support. But right now I’m focused on this session and doing good work in the House.”

Former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway said she took no issue with Schaefer’s decision to announce so early, and called it “his decision.”

“I think candidates run their own races, and I think any person running has the right to decide what’s in the best interest of that race,” Hanaway said. “We are fortunate enough in this state to have a very deep bench, and we’ll have lots of good candidates in 2016 who are going to make their own decisions for their race.

Schaefer responded to Schweich’s release briefly to The Missouri Times.

“I’ve always been straight forward with voters,” Schaefer told The Missouri Times in a written statement. “I’m running for attorney general and will be transparent about it. I’m not going to run a vague or ambiguous state-wide campaign.”

Schweich was not immediately available for  further comment.