JEFFERSON CITY – Attorney general candidate Chris Koster got a double-dose of good news Wednesday as ethics complaints against him were dismissed and his narrow primary election lead stabilized as straggling votes in St. Louis County were counted.
Koster declared victory in the primary late Tuesday and has maintained a roughly 800-vote advantage, but it's so close that state Rep. Margaret Donnelly said she is considering whether to request a re-count.
Donnelly noted Wednesday that more than 500 votes remained to be counted in St. Louis County, where she had an advantage over Koster.
Republican St. Louis County elections director Joseph Goeke said the actual number of votes still being tallied Wednesday was 611. But they were split among Democrat and Republican ballots and, with the counting nearly complete, Donnelly has picked up only a few dozen votes on Koster, Goeke said.
Most of the late-counted votes came from touch-screen machines that had not been properly closed down by poll workers, but the machines had remained secure overnight, Goeke said.
The Missouri Ethics Commission also announced Wednesday that it had dismissed nine separate complaints filed against Koster, his attorney general's campaign and a separate political committee that has donated money to him.
The commission said it concluded that the information it obtained "does not support a determination that there are at present reasonable grounds to believe that a violation of the law has occurred."
The complaints centered on claims that Koster's paid campaign staffers had coordinated the shuffling of money among various committees so that big donors could give more than otherwise allowed by the state's contribution limits.