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GOP senator announces bid for Mo. attorney general

The Missouri Senate’s chief budget-writer announced Wednesday he is seeking the 2016 Republican nomination for attorney general.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer is serving his second term from Columbia and pointed to his past experience as an assistant state attorney general and special prosecutor. He said he secured roughly 100 felony convictions for crimes such as murder, rape and drug offenses.

“Missourians need an attorney general with experience putting violent criminals behind bars,” Schaefer said. “From our county courthouses to the Missouri Supreme Court, I’ve prosecuted some of Missouri’s most dangerous criminals and fought to protect the rights of victims.”

The attorney general’s office likely will be up for grabs. Incumbent Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster already has said he is making preparations to run for governor in 2016.

Missouri attorneys general are responsible for defending state laws and policies when they are challenged, helping county prosecutors when requested, pursuing consumer fraud cases and investigating potential violations of the state’s open meetings and records law. Most who have held the post during the past 60 years eventually ended up in the Governor’s Mansion or the U.S. Senate.

Schaefer first was elected to the Legislature in 2008 and is barred by term limits from seeking a third, four-year term in the state Senate. He previously worked as the general counsel and deputy director for the state Department of Natural Resources, a special counsel to the Department of Agriculture and a special counsel to the governor.

Campaign finance reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission show Schaefer had about $80,000 in his campaign account at end of June. In mid-July, his campaign reported receiving $500,000 from a family trust.

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