The Missouri Farm Bureau has endorsed Democrat Chris Koster for governor, the first time the organization has ever endorsed a Democrat running for statewide office.
Koster, who is finishing up his second term as attorney general, faces off with Republican Eric Greitens this November. Incumbent Gov. Jay Nixon can’t seek re-election because of term limits.
“Chris Koster has been an important advocate of agriculture as attorney general,” Missouri Farm Bureau president Blake Hurst said in a statement.
Koster served 10 years as Cass County prosecutor before being elected to the Missouri Senate as a Republican in 2004. He left the Republican Party in 2007 and was elected attorney general the next year as a Democrat.
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Hurst cited Koster’s support of the Right to Farm Amendment, which passed in 2014 over the objection of many Democrats in the state’s urban centers. He also pointed to Koster’s lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and against the state of California over that state’s regulations on enclosures that house egg-laying hens.
Hurst said the organization’s political action committee, Farm-PAC, will now focus its attention on supporting Koster and other candidates who win their endorsement. In the race for attorney general, the bureau endorsed Republican Josh Hawley.
Koster winning the endorsement of the conservative-leaning Missouri Farm Bureau is a big disappointment for Greitens, who emerged victorious from a four-way Republican primary Tuesday.
Many political observers think Koster could win the coveted National Rifle Association endorsement as well. The gun-rights group endorsed Koster in his race for attorney general in 2012.