Editor's note: This story originally publishedin advance of the August primary. It has been updated to include information about the candidates who will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. This article is part of the Missourian's 2012 general election voters guide.
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 antitrust 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.
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. According to his website, upholding prevailing wage laws, preventing Medicaid fraud and working with local law enforcement areamong his top issues.
- Personal: Age 47. Single.
- Occupation: State attorney general.
- Education: Bachelor's degree in liberal arts from MU, 1987; Juris Doctorate from MU, 1991; master's degree 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.
- Campaign website: chriskoster.com.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit in 2001-02.
- Campaign website: edmartinformissouri.com.
Dave Browning (Libertarian)
According to his website, Browning believes government should be "more strictly limited" and he supports gun ownership, calling his gun control ideas "radical." He also believes Missouri should repeal the death penalty. Browning unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Congress for the 6th District in 2008.
- Personal: Age 63. Married.
- Occupation: Attorney in private practice in Independence and Oak Grove since 1986.
- Education: Bachelor of Arts from William Jewel College, 1971; Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, 1975.
- Background: Private practice of law in Independence from 1975 to 1977; assistant prosecuting attorney in Jefferson City from 1977 to 1979; assistant prosecuting attorney in Jackson County, Mo. from 1979 to 1986.
- Campaign website: libertarian-patriot.com.
Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.