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This Week in Missouri Politics Column: The AG pick is in, Andrew Bailey

As readers of this column, you will not be surprised that Governor Parson chose fellow Army veteran and his General Counsel Andrew Bailey to be the next Attorney General.

In fact you could have just read my column from August and you would have been pretty well up to speed for the pick:

Bailey is a war veteran, former Assistant Prosecutor in Warren County, foster parent, General Counsel for the Dept. of Corrections, and of course currently the Governor’s General Counsel.

The Governor said from the beginning that he wanted to someone to bring stability to the office that has seen its last two holders leave in midterm to become US Senators. Right out of the gate the Governor and Bailey quashed any speculation about whether he would run again… he is.

No one could argue that the press conference was an unequivocal home run.

Bailey was energetic, took on every question, looked great with his family standing behind him. His wife was the real MVP for holding their youngest child the entire time. The entire presentation was 10 on 10.

Speaking of MVPs that press conference didn’t come off as well as it did without a lot of work by Kelli Jones the Governor’s Communications Director.

The key takeaways I’m hearing are:

  1. Andrew Bailey is the candidate that the Governor, his top fundraisers, and all of his supporters are going to be 100% behind in 2024.
  2. There is an iron clad commitment from him to spend the next 10 years bringing stability to the office.
  3. The lawsuits against the federal government will be given large latitude to play out.
  4. The more political lawsuits filed against Missourians will be highly scrutinized.
  5. Bailey is committed to giving the office a more professional image and reputation and that will no question require some staff changes.
  6. Don’t look for dramatic firings, but a step by step low key direct move toward putting the focus on putting murders and rapists behind bars
  7. Everyone that is behind Parson is behind Bailey for 2024. That means I suspect he puts up close to a $1,000,000 quarter right out of the gate.
  8. He will have the leg up on the ag groups support and several other groups right out of the gate.
  9. Bailey was a top contender for one of the two Supreme Court appointments coming up next year. He is now out of the running for those. You have to think at least one of those picks will be from Southern Missourah. If not why does anyone in Dexter have to follow laws adjudicated by a court whose closest judges lives hundreds of miles away?
  10. There will be several folks still making rumblings about a primary challenge and watching the next few weeks looking for weaknesses to exploit.

There are a few folks who were considered for the appointment who might make a run.

Former Assistant US Attorney Will Scharf – He is running for office in 2024, having left his job at the US Attorney’s Office, and has started a committee to run statewide.  A run that likely culminates in a run for Attorney General. At first he seemed unlikely to run against Bailey, but that seems to no longer be the case. He will enter the race with an immense fundraising prowess. Its still possible that he could a make a run at Secretary of State, but I suspect his national connections lead to an AG bid.

Senator Tony Luetkemeyer – He has a million in the bank and two years as a sitting state senator to raise more. He has stellar relationships with the police, and is very likely to mount a statewide run in 2024 for some office. He could mount a tough race for whichever one he chooses, including Attorney General.

Former US Attorney Tim Garrison – He has every piece of his resume, and perhaps did the most work to secure the appointment. He very likely has an interest in running for office, and you get the sense AG is probably the only thing he would be interested in. He owes nothing to anyone, and a run makes a lot of sense.

Former State Senator Kurt Schaefer – He was asked by several senior people in the legal community to consider the position as he trusted by everyone and the job would have been in safe hands. It seems he did consider it, but there is likely no way he leaves his position at Lathrop to run especially when it took a great deal of urging to get him to consent to an interview in the first place.

Cole County Judge Chris Limbaugh – He would be the toughest primary opponent of all. However, he and Bailey are friends so a run is unlikely.

State Rep. David Gregory – He is running for state senate in 2024, so count him out.

Good things happening at Mizzou.

I’m not sure in my professional career things have been going as well at Mizzou as they are right now. Calm on the campus (professors are always going to complain). Enrollment is on a good trajectory. Bowl eligible and great recruiting classes on the way.

Things are good in Columbia, and folks ought to take a moment and appreciate what Dr. Choi has brought to the state.