Pro-life and pro-family voters in Missouri will face a perplexing choice when they cast their ballots for Governor this fall as a result of last Tuesday’s state primary elections. Democrat Attorney General Chris Koster will face off against Republican political newcomer Eric Greitens.
Koster hails from Cass County, where he served as Prosecuting Attorney before being elected to the Missouri State Senate in 2004. Koster changed his political affiliation from Republican to Democrat in 2007 in part because he opposed conservative resistance to embryonic stem cell research, in which human embryos are cloned and destroyed.
Koster has been a supporter of abortion on demand. He also was a supporter of redefining marriage to include same-sex unions. During his term as Attorney General, a local circuit judge in Kansas City struck down Missouri’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
That single ruling by a low-level state circuit judge took effect because Koster chose not to appeal the decision to the Missouri Supreme Court. That was the greatest dereliction of duty by a statewide elected official we have ever witnessed in the history of the State of Missouri. While Koster did defend and appeal legal challenges to Missouri’s marriage amendment in federal court, he did so in a fashion to ensure that the state’s position would be dismissed.
Eric Greitens is a former Navy SEAL, having served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning both a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. He gained national prominence by founding a group called The Mission Continues, which assists disabled and wounded veterans by engaging them in volunteer activities in their communities.
Greitens claimed on the campaign trail that he is pro-life, yet he was the only candidate in the Republican primary who was not endorsed by the Missouri Right to Life Political Action Committee. Greitens’ staff says that he failed to return MRL’s candidate survey because of an oversight. However, spokesmen for Missouri Right to Life insist that Greitens rebuffed repeated efforts to arrange a sit-down meeting or to persuade him to return the candidate questionnaire.
During this year’s legislative session, Greitens distinguished himself among Republican gubernatorial candidates by opposing Senate Joint Resolution 39. That proposed constitutional amendment would have guaranteed the religious freedom of those who oppose same-sex unions.
SJR 39 would have provided protection to pastors, churches, Christian schools, Christian ministries, and Christian wedding vendors who decline to participate in or endorse same-sex unions. Bakers, florists, photographers, and even ministers in other states have faced lawsuits and punitive fines for standing by their religious convictions. Churches have lost or been threatened with the loss of their tax exemptions for choosing not to host same-sex ceremonies on their property.
In the Lieutenant Governor’s race, Democrat former Congressman Russ Carnahan will face Republican State Senator Mike Parson in the general election. Senator Parson has a law enforcement background, having previously served as Sheriff of Polk County.
Senator Parson has been a reliable ally of the pro-life and pro-family community in the State Senate. He has voted for bills banning most late-term abortions and establishing the 72-hour waiting period. He voted this year in favor of SJR 39, the constitutional amendment strengthening religious liberty protections for believers in the Biblical definition of marriage.
Carnahan served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2005 to 2013. Like his father, the late Governor Mel Carnahan, Russ is an avid supporter of abortion on demand. During his tenure in Congress, Carnahan voted against a proposed federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
Carnahan also supported a bill which would have added “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes under federal anti-discrimination statutes. Such laws have been used to persecute and prosecute Christians who are believers in traditionalmarriage.
In the Secretary of State’s race, Democrat Robin Smith will contend with Republican Jay Ashcroft. Smith was a longtime television newscaster in St. Louis. While Smith has yet to elaborate publicly on her views on social issues, she has stated that she is “appalled” at the stances of “right-wing Republicans” in Jefferson City.
Jay Ashcroft is an attorney with the Ashcroft law firm. He is the son of former Missouri Governor and U.S. Senator John Ashcroft. Ashcroft is a strong believer in the sanctity of human life, and supports the strongest possible laws regulating the practice of abortion.
In the race for State Treasurer, Democrat Judy Baker squares off against State Senator Eric Schmitt. Baker is a former state representative and former regional director of the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services. She has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, and Emily’s List, a national organization that funds pro-abortion candidates.
Senator Schmitt is an attorney who hails from St. Louis County, and has been a valiant supporter of the pro-life movement. He played a leading role on the Senate Sanctity of Human Life Committee which investigated the shoddy business practices of Planned Parenthood. Senator Schmitt was a supporter of Senate Joint Resolution 39, the proposed statewide referendum broadening religious liberty protections for supporters of traditional marriage.
The Attorney General’s race is one of great interest to the pro-life and pro-family community in Missouri. Our state has not had an attorney general with pro-life and traditional values convictions for 24 years. In that contest, Democrat Teresa Hensley will face Republican Josh Hawley. Hensley is a former prosecuting attorney in Cass County, and is currently a family law mediator. Hensley has also been endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, Planned Parenthood, and Emily’s Lisst.
Josh Hawley is a law professor at the University of Missouri whose specialty is constitutional law. Hawley formerly worked for the Becket Law Fund, one of the nation’s leading law firms defending religious liberty interests. In that capacity, Hawley was part of the legal team assisting Hobby Lobby in their successful lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s contraceptive and abortion drug mandate.
The Missouri Family Policy Council is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. As such, we do not endorse, recommend, or oppose candidates for partisan political office. We present this information regarding the results of Missouri’s recent primary elections for informational and educational purposes only.