The Buzz

Former Democratic state senator takes on Chris Koster


UPDATED with Koster response:

A former Democratic Missouri state senator is suggesting that he may back Republican Eric Greitens for governor this year because of differences over farm policy he has with Chris Koster.

Former Sen. Wes Shoemyer of Clarence, Missouri, said he was disappointed with some of Koster’s statements to the Missouri Farm Bureau, which wound up endorsing Koster over Republican nominee Eric Greitens.

Shoemyer said he was particularly upset with Koster’s support of Smithfield Foods that’s seeking to take over the U.S. hog market.

“I am extremely disappointed in Chris Koster,” Shoemyer said in a statement that The Buzz obtained. “When he left the Republican Party and wanted to run as a Democrat for Missouri attorney general, I was one of the first to endorse him, but his statements about being happy to support China’s Smithfield as it takes over the U.S. hog market tells me I made a big mistake.”

Shoemyer said at the Farm Bureau meeting, Koster reaffirmed his support for industrial agriculture practices and ending local control over health standards. Koster told Farm Bureau members that they should back him because his support helped pass the the controversial “Freedom to Farm” amendment in 2014. Critics say the amendment will protect large agriculture companies.

Shoemyer had worked to defeat the amendment.

"If Koster and his Farm Bureau buddies think they will bring all the Democrats to the ballot box for a guaranteed victory, well, they need to know I am one Democrat they don’t have,” Shoemyer said. “As Dad always said, ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.’"

In the statement, Shoemyer said he is seeking a meeting with Greitens.

For this part, Koster weighed in with this statement:

“From time to time, Wes and I have had spirited debates regarding agriculture in Missouri. I think our sincere disagreements stem from differing understandings of Missouri agriculture's role as supplier to the global economy. Regardless, I consider Wes a friend with a great sense of humor and an ability to tell great stories at the drop of a hat.”