A leading state senator who has switched parties does not exspect his actiion to trigger other defections He says others are afraid to jump, as he has. Senator Chris Koster knows he’s giving up power and influence by moving to the Democratic party, which is in the minority in the legislature. But he says his centrist positions were not gaining the traction he wanted anyway in a party dominated by the far right.
Koster says he did not discuss his thinking with fellow lawmakers from either party as he weighed what to do since the legislative session ended in mid-May. He thinks other Republican lawmakers also have doubts about the party direction but they won’t risk coming out of the political closet. He says they’re too frightened of Missouri Right to Life and the far right to join him in standing uip for stem cell research. Koster says they are running farther to the right as they get closer to election day.
Koster says the Republican attempts to criminalize stem cell research, attacks on the independent judiciary, and personal attacks on judges are some of the factors behind his decision. He is a likely candidate for Attorney General next year. He says he’s comfortable with whatever the consequences of his move are. He says he’s passiionate about public service but he’s not going to change what he believes about issues—and he was finding it harder and harder to speak his mind as a Republican.
Kostger had been considered a leading Republican candidatge for Attorney General in 2008. He refuses to talk about that candidacy as he promotes his party switch. But he also is not talking about withdrawing from the race—and Democratic Representative Jeff Harris of Columbia, who already has announced his candidacy on his party’s ticket, expects to run against Koster in a primary.