JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri will continue to have a divided government with a Republican lieutenant governor. The Democrats continue to hold the state treasurer's office and secretary of state's office.
The state elected its first new attorney general in 16 years after the heated race between two state senators concluded Tuesday with the victory of Democrat Chris Koster over Republican Mike Gibbons.
Gibbons conceded the race to Koster, who had 52.8 percent of the vote.
With such a close race, Koster said, "I was surprised that the call came in as early as it did; we were both watching the same numbers out of St. Louis, and we basically reconfirmed our friendship with one another."
"As your next attorney general," he said, "I will work every day to build upon the strong foundation that attorney general and Gov.-elect Jay Nixon had built, and put the interests of working families over the interests of the powerful in Jefferson City," Koster said in his acceptance speech.
Gibbons attempted to joke with the emotional crowd as he gave his concession speech.
He said the Republicans had a tough race.
"I wish it was me but it wasn't meant to be," Gibbons said.
"See you guys later," Gibbons said as he left the stage and the crowd chanted, "We like Mike."
Tuesday's election concluded a race characterized by campaign finance intrigue and controversial ads.
The attorney general's race was one of the nastiest of the statewide races in Missouri, with charges of coddling welfare cheats and taking money from mobsters.
It was also one of the more expensive statewide races, where Koster raised more than $4.4 million and Gibbons more than $3.5 million. The influx of money led in part to the negative tone of the campaign.
Gibbons had raised $1.6 million in October, due largely to a $1.1 million contribution from the suburban Washington, D.C.-based Republican State Leadership Committee. He reported $337,043 on hand heading into the final days of the campaign.
Koster reported raising $771,882 during the same period, with $252,582 on hand.
Accusations of money laundering during Koster's primary campaign are being investigated by the Missouri Ethics Commission.
Now that the animated race between two former colleagues is over, Koster said, "Achieving change will be no easy task, but tonight, Missourians have not only spoken for change, they have demanded it. "
Republican Peter Kinder celebrated his successful campaign for a second term as Missouri's lieutenant governor Tuesday night at the Drury Plaza Hotel in Chesterfield.
Kinder held onto his position by defeating Sam Page, a member of the state House of Representatives and medical doctor from suburban St. Louis.
Page led Kinder in funds raised going into the final days of the election. He raised an estimated total of $2.6 million to Kinder's $1.4 million.
Kinder said Tuesday that he will work with Gov.-elect Jay Nixon, a Democrat, to keep state government running efficiently.
"He will need help governing this state with a majority of the other party controlling both the House and Senate," Kinder said. "I will work with him if he is willing to work with me."
"Where devotion to principle or constitution demands it, I will oppose him," he said.
Secretary of State Robin Carnahan won a second term with a hefty 61 percent of the vote.
Her opponent was Mitch Hubbard, who manages a McDonald's in Fulton.
Democrat Clint Zweifel won the state treasurer's race by beating Republican Brad Lager.
In the state Senate, Republicans picked up three seats, upholding their majority with 23 seats.
In the state House of Representatives, Democrats gained three seats.