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Sunday, August 19, 2007


In a bombshell announcement on Aug. 1, state Sen. Chris Koster of Harrisonville, the early frontrunner for the 2008 GOP nomination for attorney general, announced he is leaving the Republican Party and becoming a Democrat. One day earlier Koster resigned his Senate leadership position of majority caucus chairman.

A self-professed moderate, Koster said he was making the switch because the Republican Party has become too dominated by conservative ideologues. Koster has long enjoyed the support of some traditionally Democratic constituencies, such as organized labor and trial attorneys. During his three years in the Senate, however, Koster reliably voted the Republican position on major issues that Democrats strongly opposed, such as voter ID, cutting health care funding and removing campaign contribution limits.

Koster, a former Cass County prosecutor, declined to comment on whether he intends to continue his bid for attorney general, although he is widely expected to do so. Koster said he will not seek re-election to the Senate next year. House Minority Leader Jeff Harris of Columbia and state Rep. Margaret Donnelly of St. Louis have already announced their candidacies for the Democratic nomination for attorney general.

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