State Senator Chris Koster has declared victory, but the Democrat who finished second in the Attorney General’s primary race isn’t ready to concede.
Only 852 votes separate Koster and State Representative Margaret Donnelly of St. Louis. The Secretary of State’s office says that with all precincts reporting, Koster received 118,589 votes to Donnelly’s 117,737 votes; or an incredibly narrow percentage win of 34.3% to 34%. State Representative Jeff Harris of Columbia finished third with 86,379 votes, or 25%.
Despite the closeness of the race, Koster has claimed victory. Koster switched parties a little more than a year ago, stating that he no longer fit in the Republican Party. That decision played a role in the campaign as both Harris, former House Minority Floor Leader, and Donnelly questioned Koster’s Democratic credentials.
"To my colleagues in the Democratic Party, Representatives Margaret Donnelly and Jeff Harris, I congratulate both you and your supporters on the races you have run. Your excellence has made me a better candidate for the fall campaign," Koster said in a prepared statement, "We have had our differences, but we have shown the people of Missouri the strength of our party. A strength that is built upon our diversity of voices and the Big Tent in which we all reside."
Donnelly, though, is weighing her options. A spokesman for Donnelly, Daniel Nava, says some votes in St. Louis County were not counted last night because some precincts were closed improperly. Nava points out the results from the Secretary of State are unofficial results. He says the campaign knows there are several votes that have not been counted.
"Until we know for sure what the results of those ballots are, we are not conceding," says Nava.
Shortly after Nava made those remarks, the campaign issued a written statement by Donnelly.
"At this time we are waiting for certification from the Secretary of State’s office. We know that there are still over 500 votes that have not been counted in St. Louis County. And while we are not aware of similar situations elsewhere, we have not had the time to investigate other election jurisdictions. After certification we will weigh our options, including asking for a recount. "
Democrat Jay Nixon is leaving the post he has held since first elected Attorney General in 1992 to run for governor. Republican Mike Gibbons of Kirkwood, the State Senate President Pro Tem, ran unopposed in the Republican primary.