No one knows more about statewide appointments than Governor Mike Parson, and now it appears the Governor is going to be hiring a new Attorney General and a new State Treasurer to replace the last two.
Sure, it’s possible that gas drops back to $2.00 and Danforth’s boy drains off enough elitist St. Louis Republicans to elect Ms. Busch. But let’s assume the likely scenario that the environmentalist wacko hippies stay in charge in the White House, and we see another epic failure from Danforth,—— and Eric Schmitt lands his new gig. The Mike Parson Employment Agency will be posting another job opening.
Let’s say the posting goes something like:
The State of Missouri has an opening for Attorney General. The job requires experience in prosecution, politics, and government administration. The ideal candidate would commit to serving in the position for a while before seeking promotion, and it would be outstanding if the successful applicant focused more on dragging sex offenders, not school board members into court.
Interested applicants should apply to:
200 West Capitol Avenue Room 200
Jefferson City, Missourah 65101
Let’s look at a few of the options at the Governor’s disposal.
Andrew Bailey: He is the Governor’s General Counsel, and has impressed everyone in state government with his performance. He is a former assistant prosecutor, and I doubt there is any lawyer in the state that the Governor has more confidence in than Andrew. The question would be whether he wants to pursue political office or the judiciary. Either way if he is interested he is a — and maybe the — frontrunner.
Tim Garrison: The former US Attorney has a resume sent from central casting. He is a veteran who is still serving. He had an unblemished term as US Attorney. He looks exactly like what you figure an Attorney General would look like. He has done some charity work with the FOP. He is really a top tier candidate with a resume that almost seems unreal. The question is how would he adapt to an elected position. US Attorneys are the unrivaled kings of their dominion, Attorney Generals are far more exposed to the public and political discourse.
Former Senator Kurt Schaefer: The former appropriations chairman has a lengthy government resume, including time serving in the AG’s office. Maybe his best point is that Kurt Schaefer has an honest passion for the office and serving as Attorney General. He won two tough state Senate races in a swing district that he probably shouldn’t have won at all, and ran for AG in ‘16. He is tough, and a brilliant lawyer who knows the Governor well.
Senator Tony Luetkemeyer: The Senator from Platte is a rising star in the party whether he gets this appointment or not. However, he is the senior Republican lawyer in the legislature and current senate judiciary chairman. Senator Luetkemeyer even clerked for the US Supreme Court. He won a tough race in his first Senate run and has proven to be a very good fundraiser. He’s passed more bills than I can list including legislation the FOP has long lobbied for. He is a top contender on any statewide list.
Associate Circuit Judge Chris Limbaugh: He knows everyone in the administration from his service as the Governor’s first general counsel. Chris comes from a legacy of great lawyers, and politics is something that kinda runs in his family. He would be one person the Governor could appoint and there would be no question that he would be easily re-elected. The question, similar to Bailey, is whether he would rather use his influence to pursue a career in an elected office or the judiciary.
Stephanie Bell: She has been growing her profile by leaps and bounds over the last five years and has built a practice that has brought her into working with and getting to know most everyone in the judiciary, as well as the Parson administration. She could communicate a message in public as well as in court and would be someone who’s already rising star-power would be set on warp speed if she were appointed.
Representative David Gregory: The gentleman from St. Louis County has rockstar talent, and while there is already a rush of folks pushing him to run for state Senate in 2024, he would be a top candidate for Attorney General. He is fresh off a statewide campaign and proved he could raise the money, he has many influential friends who are close to the Parson administration including David Steward, and is just bursting with talent. Some might point out that he is fresh off a statewide campaign loss, but I would ask you what Kit Bond, Mark Richardson, John Ashcroft, Mel Carnahan, Bob Holden, Jim Talent and Claire McCaskill all have in common? They all lost a race before going onto greater political heights.
Will Scharf: The current Assistant U.S. Attorney and former General Counsel to the Governor’s predecessor has a strong resume, and is aggressive. He has a lengthy list of statewide and national legal connections and could put a strong campaign together quickly. He is also absolutely unquestionably brilliant.
Cole County Prosecuting Attorney Locke Thompson: The Cole County PA defeated an incumbent to win the job at a very young age. An incumbent that I reckon Mike Parson wouldn’t have voted for. He is compiling a tremendous record of prosecutions in Cole County, evidenced by him running unopposed this summer. Locke is unquestionably on the next wave of talented up-and-coming Republican lawyers and will no doubt receive consideration for any top appointment.
Mark Ellinger: One of the most prominent attorneys in Missouri on issues of public interest. He has been the attorney for several statewide campaigns and knows literally everyone in Missouri Republican politics. He is a former elected official serving as Cole County Presiding Commissioner. He would be ready to be the Attorney General on day one.
Eddie Greim: He is a top attorney in Kansas City on issues of politics and free speech, and is a partner at the very influential Graves Garrett Law Firm. He is pragmatic with a knack for politics, and an impeccable winning record in court. He also shares the Governor’s love of Missouri history. If he isn’t selected for this position, look for him to be a top candidate for US Attorney the next time there is a Republican in the White House. Lots of folks behind the scenes say that if this was not a political position and the State of Missouri was hiring the best lawyer to represent them, they would hire Eddie Greim.
St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar: He has the most commanding presence of anyone on the list, and is the king of St. Charles County. He has a great record in the courtroom and his colleagues from around the state have had him be a leader in their association nearly since the day he was elected. I’d bet he handles whatever the snafu from the lake is about before the fall and would be a top contender.
Some other folks whose names are being mentioned would include former Speaker Elijah Haahr. While I absolutely don’t think he is done running for office I wonder if he would want a little more time to be with his young family before diving back in. Speaking of folks in the media Tim Jones was once the leading contender to run for the job in ‘16, but his media career has taken off to the point it probably doesn’t make sense for him to jump back in. If this job opening was four years from now Rep. Bill Hardwick would be a top contender. Further, Mary Elizabeth Coleman would be on the list if she didn’t just win a huge state Senate primary. Speaking of JeffCo, Derrick R. Good is a very highly respected attorney who is well respected by many in the Parson administration.
To be honest, if I had my pick, I’d choose the man who liberated the faces of Missouri’s children, Cole County Judge Dan Green. If Gussie, or most other Missouri children got the choice they would make Judge Green AG, Governor, and manager of the St. Louis Cardinals all at the same time.
Be sure to check out This Week in Missouri Politics Sunday for our annual visit with Governor Mike Parson at the Missouri State Fair.
Featured Image: Former Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster
Scott Faughn is the publisher of The Missouri Times, owner of the Clayton Times in Clayton; SEMO Times in Poplar Bluff; and host of the only statewide political television show, This Week in Missouri Politics.