VOTERS GUIDE: Candidates for state attorney general

Friday, August 3, 2012 | 3:07 p.m. CDT; updated 7:44 p.m. CDT, Monday, September 17, 2012

WHAT'S THE JOB? The attorney general is Missouri's chief legal officer and is in charge of representing the state in legal challenges. He or she must defend the constitutionality of state statutes and the actions of state officials if legally challenged.

Among the office's other duties, the attorney general is tasked with managing the state’s consumer protection services, such as the no-call list, the Consumer Protection Act and enforcement of anti-trust laws.

State attorneys general must be licensed to practice law, be a U.S. citizen and be a resident of the state for at least one year before the next election. They do not have term limits. The salary is $116,437.

The candidates

Chris Koster (D)

Incumbent Chris Koster is seeking his second term as the state attorney general, after being elected in 2008.

Earlier this year, Koster wrote an opinion piece supporting an increase of Missouri’s 17-cent-per-pack cigarette tax. Koster’s office also wrote an argument in support of a multi-state lawsuit against the federal health care law that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld.

Before becoming attorney general, Koster was elected to the state Senate in 2004. He represented Cass, Johnson, Bates and Vernon counties. Koster was originally aligned with the Republican Party but switched parties in 2007. He also has served as Cass County prosecutor.

Koster, who now lives in Jefferson City, could not be reached for comment. His website lists upholding prevailing wage laws, preventing Medicaid fraud and working with local law enforcement among his top issues.

  • Personal: Age 47. Single.
  • Occupation: State attorney general
  • Education: Bachelor of arts in liberal arts from MU, 1987; Juris Doctorate from MU, 1991; master's in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis, 2002.
  • Background: Former 31st District state senator, previously worked as a lawyer specializing in civil litigation; formerly served on the board of the Missouri Sentencing Advisory Commission as well as on the state’s Bioterrorism Task Force; member of the Belton-Raymore Rotary Club and the Belton Chamber of Commerce; former director of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys; former member of the U.S. Attorney’s Anti-Terrorism Task Force; served as director of the Hope Haven Women’s Shelter; assistant attorney general from 1991 to 1993.

Ed Martin (R)

Martin is running for attorney general to "to stand up and fight back against government intrusions like ObamaCare and burdensome regulations."

He said the office is "important to a well-functioning society."

Martin unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2010 against Democratic U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan.

If elected, Martin said he would reform the office of the attorney general, specifically providing more transparency in the process of seeking bids for outside representation in some court cases.

He said he believes in "values that respect private property, preserve our natural liberties and put in place the rule of law that allows the greatest opportunity of a free market system."

  • Personal: Age 42. Married to Carol Martin. They have four children.
  • Education: Bachelor's degree from College of the Holy Cross; bachelor's degree in philosophy from Gregorian University in Italy; master's degree in health care ethics from St. Louis University; law degree from St. Louis University Law School
  • Occupation: Attorney in private practice; worked for Bryan Cave, LLC; former chairman of the St. Louis Board of Elections Commissioners; former chief of staff to Gov. Matt Blunt.
  • Background: Former director of the Human Rights Office for the Archdiocese of St. Louis; former employee of the Institute for Justice in Washington, D.C., worked as judicial clerk to the federal Court of Appeals for Eighth Circuit in 2001-02. 
  • Campaign website:

Adam Lee Warren (R)

Warren said he is running for attorney general as the "political outsider" and the "candidate who has a grasp on reality," according to his website.

Warren could not be reached for comment, but his website states that he is worried about the direction of the country and about federal actions that seem to go against the U.S. Constitution. 

  • Personal: Age 32. Married to Melanie Warren. They have a son.
  • Occupation: Livingston County prosecutor, Chillicothe city prosecutor.
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in hospitality and restaurant administration from Missouri State University, 2002; Juris Doctorate from MU, 2005.
  • Background: Chillicothe city attorney; former member of the Judge Advocate General Corps of the Missouri National Guard; former counsel to Chillicothe City Council. 
  •  Campaign website:

Dave Browning (Libertarian)

Browning said he is in the race to return the attorney general's office to small government principles.

"I am a small government, low tax kind of guy," he said.

If elected, he said he would not "politicize" the office, which in his view has been happening in recent years. He said that the practice of hiring outside the attorney general's office for legal expertise is wrong and that he would work to develop that experience inside the office.

Browning said he does not expect to win the race but hopes his campaign gives people an alternative to the other candidates, which he says are for "big government."

  • Personal: Age 62. Married to Teresa Browning.
  • Education: Bachelor's degree from William Jewell College, 1971; law degree from University of Missouri-Kansas City, 1975.
  • Occupation: Attorney in private practice for 37 years.
  • Campaign website:

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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