Kansas City lawyer Chris Byrd won the Republican nomination for attorney general Tuesday, carrying about 80 percent of the statewide vote and defeating Columbia candidate Dewey Crepeau.
Byrd said he expected a large victory but didn’t anticipate how large it would be.
The large gap in votes surprised Crepeau, which, he said, was caused by well-informed Republican voters voting on Democratic ballots. Another reason, he said, was Missourians voting on the amendments but being uninformed about the races and picking the first name on the ballot.
Byrd won on a platform of fighting predatory lending, addressing mercury in vaccines, streamlining the attorney general’s office and giving businesses the opportunity to present their side when dealing with the attorney general’s office.
One view that set Byrd’s candidacy apart from that of Crepeau, who won about 20 percent of the statewide vote, was that the attorney general and those running for the office should avoid campaign contributions from attorneys or law firms. Byrd faces a difficult challenge in unseating incumbent Jay Nixon, who did little campaigning during the primary. The Democrat is looking to win his fourth term. Byrd has never held an elected office.
Before winning the attorney general’s office in 1992, Nixon was a state senator. He failed in a 1988 bid to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Kit Bond.
In other statewide races, Mark Abel outdistanced two opponents to win the Democratic nomination for state treasurer. He’ll face Republican state Sen. Sarah Steelman, who led a field of seven candidates. Libertarian Lisa Emerson was unopposed in the primary.
Also unopposed were three candidates for secretary of state: Democrat Robin Carnahan, Republican Catherine Hanaway and Libertarian Christopher Davis.