State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, Republican candidate for Missouri Attorney General, spent much of his time speaking with the Pettis County Pachyderm Club on Friday at the Best Western State Fair Inn denouncing rumors and passionately touting his courtroom experience.
Schaefer will face Josh Hawley, of Columbia, on the Aug. 2 primary election ballot. Also on the ballot will be Democrats Jake Zimmerman, of St. Louis, and Teresa Hensley, of Raymore.
The lifelong Missourian is a senator in District 19, serving as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and is a partner at Lathrop & Gage LLP in Kansas City, working in the Jefferson City and Columbia areas, according to their website.
Schaefer started his remarks strong and never let up, talking about his very conservative beliefs, his record of voting pro-life and his endorsements from the NRA, Right to Life, the Missouri Sheriff’s Association and numerous state agriculture organizations.
“Three years ago, I’m the one that led the investigation into the conceal carry list being given to the Federal government on three occasions through unencrypted discs in the mail,” he said. “What we found was yes it happened, it’s a violation of Missouri law …”
He continually mixed in his qualifications over his opponent, Hawley, specifically comparing their law careers; Hawley is a law professor at the University of Missouri.
“When I tell you that I argued in a Supreme Court, what it means is I sat at a computer, usually for days, did a lot of research, wrote a brief, filed the brief, and then I stood in front of the court on the day of the argument and I argued my case and I persuaded judges to agree with me and answer their questions and doing everything I have to do,” Schaefer said. “That’s relevant because my opponent says he won the Hobby Lobby case. We’re going to talk about that in a minute, but what I want everyone to understand is that’s not true. He was a junior part of a team, but he didn’t argue the case. When I say I argued a case, that’s what I mean, and I won.”
Schaefer also was part of the Sanctity of Life Committee that investigated Planned Parenthood last year because “supporting the sanctity of life was the right thing to do.”
He said one of the things he fought hardest against during his time in the Senate was expanding Medicaid in Missouri, and that what he is most proud of during his time in the Senate is delivering a balanced budget every year.
Most audience questions were regarding literature they had received from Hawley’s campaign attacking Schaefer, much of it already proved false by news outlets around the state.
“You’ve been accused of assisting a Chinese company in buying large portions of Missouri land in return for a donation. Please address that,” one audience member said.
“First of all, Channel 4 in St. Louis, which is not a fan of mine, they had a segment (Thursday) night, they determined that ad was false,” Schaefer replied. “That bill was (state Sen.) Mike Parson’s bill. There’s no bigger supporter of ag than Mike Parson. He’s supported by all the same ag groups I am. To somehow insinuate that bill was anti-agriculture is ridiculous. … It passed in the Missouri Senate.
“… Here’s what you’re going to see. Because I’ll stand up here and talk about my record, I’ll talk about votes that I’ve taken. But when you’re running against a 36-year-old MU law professor, who’s never been a lawyer really on any case ever, he’s got nothing to talk about as far as experience to be the people’s lawyer, so they’ve got to talk about something. … If you’re a guy who’s never done anything, you cannot win a race by building your positives because you don’t have any so the only way you can win the race is drive up the other guy’s negatives.”
Another question was regarding his alleged support of a tobacco tax increase. Schaefer said he never supported an increase, but supported putting the tax increase issue on a ballot for citizens to vote on, which is what occurred.
Schaefer was also asked what he thought Attorney General Chris Koster should have done during the unrest in Ferguson two years ago.
“First of all you make sure law enforcement has the tools they need, and then you get out in the media and send a message to everyone, whether it’s protesters watching you or whether that’s the general public watching you and you just say, ‘let’s make something perfectly clear: if you have a grievance, and you believe there is not a process for your grievance to get addressed, then we will work with you to make sure there’s a process that you can be heard and your grievance gets addressed,’” he said. “‘But do not ever mistake that for the fact that we are going to give you a pass for disregarding law, trying to kill law enforcement officers, putting civilians in harm and burning buildings.’ You have to crack down.
“… You have to be willing as the Attorney General when something like Ferguson happens, and even if there’s bullets flying, hopefully you put on a vest, you have to go out there and stand with law enforcement and send the message we are unified on this. That’s what was missing, and I think that’s what let it get so out of hand.”
Col. Jack Jackson, chairman of Veterans for Roy Blunt, will speak on behalf of U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, who is running for re-election, at the next Pachyderm meeting at noon Friday at Best Western State Fair Inn.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.