Harris eyes a different state office

The house minority leader says he may run for attorney general.
Thursday, April 12, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:50 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY— The numbers are in, and House Minority Leader Jeff Harris, D-Columbia, has amassed more than $132,000 for use in a probable attorney general run in 2008.

According to an amended April quarterly report by his election exploratory committee, Harris for Missouri, the minority leader has raised $37,705 since the committee’s creation on March 22. The rest of the money is left over from his previous election campaigns.

Harris said he was pleased with the numbers so far. “We did very limited fundraising in a very short amount of time,” Harris said. “I’m overwhelmed that we raised almost $40,000 in less than two weeks.”

Although Harris has not officially announced his run for attorney general, he called the latest fundraising efforts a “strong statement of his intentions.”

Harris said that the reason he is strongly considering running for attorney general is that he believes a person can do a lot of good in the attorney general’s office by acting as an aggressive advocate for the average citizen.

Harris is one of two candidates so far to have created a campaign committee to potentially run for Missouri’s attorney general.

Republican state Senator Mike Gibbons, R-St. Louis County, has formed Missourians for Gibbons, a candidate committee for a potential attorney general run.

Gibbons said that his committee is working on grassroots support and fundraising, and he expects to make a formal announcement about his intentions after the current legislative session is over.

“I think I’ve got a good, solid conservative record in the legislature of protecting taxpayers, protecting children and protecting seniors,” Gibbons said. “I’m term-limited in ’08, but it offers an opportunity to continue that effort in a very positive and helpful way for the people of Missouri.”

Missourians for Gibbons has not yet filed an April quarterly report, but Gibbons says that the committee will probably do so on Friday. According to the Missouri Ethics Commission, his January report shows more than $100,000 cash on hand for a potential campaign.

Gibbons said that his committee hasn’t raised much money during the legislative session.

Harris and Gibbons are jockeying for position to replace current Attorney General Jay Nixon, who plans to run for governor in 2008.

Other candidates from both parties may still jump into the fray, but they have not yet registered campaign committees specifically for attorney general with the Missouri Ethics Commission. Fourteen potential candidates have filed only for a nonspecific statewide office.

Any prospective candidate for attorney general would have a long way to go to match the funds raised by Nixon in the 2004 attorney general race. According to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, a nonpartisan campaign finance group, Nixon raised more than $500,000 in his successful 2004 campaign.

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