Martin and Warren compete to take on Koster in the fall
While Republican Ed Martin has set his sights on dislodging Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster from office, the St. Louis attorney will still need to prevail in the GOP primary before moving onto November.
Martin is running against Livingston County Prosecutor Adam Warren in the GOP primary for attorney general. The winner of the Aug. 7 contest will face off against Koster, a Democrat who is unopposed in his primary.
During this election cycle, Martin has pursued a U.S. Senate seat and a U.S. congressional seat before switching to the attorney general’s race. While Koster has received donations from traditionally generous Republican contributors such as Harbour Group founder Sam Fox, Martin managed to pick up a $250,000 donation from TAMKO CEO David Humphreys.
He’s also been named the leader of Missouri Republican Party’s fall coordinated campaign, a sign that the party infrastructure is banking on a Martin victory.
“Certainly I’m gratified by all the endorsements and all the attention – but you still got to earn it,” Martin said in a telephone interview. “Adam is a very nice guy and we’ve been at a lot of forums together. So we’re doing a TV ad and we’re pushing hard to get out the vote. We’re taking nothing for granted.”
Thus far, Martin has mostly focused on the federal health-care law. His signs, for instance, have the words “Stop Obamacare” under his name, while a TV commercial released this month promised a new legal strategy to upend the law. He said he’s focused on the issue because Missourians are upset about the law.
“In Missouri, I think there’s a sweeping rejection of Obama and his policies,” Martin said. “We’ve had an attorney general who’s not once stood up in a meaningful way against Obama. People are saying that’s not what we need.”
Warren is a Chillicothe-based attorney before being elected prosecutor of the northwest Missouri county in 2010.
Although he hasn’t raised as much money as Martin, his campaign produced polished web videos touting his family’s roots in Missouri and his dismay with the federal government. Warren said in a phone interview that his prosecutorial background is an important attribute in going up against Koster, who was Cass County’s prosecutor.
“I think his message is powerful,” said Warren, referring to Koster. “If you have zero to talk about in that realm, then the incumbent is going to have a good time detracting from the issue today. And that’s whether the federal government has gone too far and whether the state ought to defend its sovereignty. That’s the part of the biggest issue so far as far as the referendum on this election. But if you don’t have anything to talk about in the realm of prosecution and in the realm of public protection, you’re going to be at disadvantage as a candidate.”
In both his web videos and the biography on his website, Warren’s positioned himself as a political outsider. Like Martin, Warren was critical of Koster’s amicus brief on the federal health-care law.
He said that fund raising has been a challenge, but he’s still on the campaign trail and meeting with the Republican faithful.
“The party has helped Ed on fund raising quite a bit,” Warren said. “I’ve seen letter from current senators and ex-governors; they’re basically pulling out all the stops to help him out. And that’s their right. So what you’re asking me is how I am fighting them. And the answer (is) just work. I’m going out every night. After I get off work and I’m done trying a case, I drive somewhere and speak a crowd of 100 people at a time.”
Koster – a prolific fundraiser – has nearly $2.3 million in the bank for the fall campaign, a total far exceeding Martin and Warren. Since the election season began, the first-term officeholder’s touted an expansion of the state’s “No Call” list and efforts to crack down against unscrupulous dog breeders.