A bitter contest for the Republican nomination in the Missouri Attorney General race panned out for constitutional lawyer Josh Hawley.

Joshua Hawley cropThe Columbia based attorney beat state Senator Kurt Schafer by a nearly two-to-one margin in this week’s primary, which polling had shown to be a toss-up going in.  The battle was marked by negative ads, often focusing on personal attacks from both sides.

Hawley’s now targeting outgoing AG Chris Koster as he enters the general election.  “This is an office that, under Chris Koster, has taken campaign contributions from people who are named in investigations before the state” said Hawley.  “The New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize for their investigative reporting on the corruption in Chris Koster’s office.  He’s been in two different auditors reports in the last four years.”  Hawley accuses Koster of being influenced by special interest money.

Koster spokesperson David Turner says Hawley’s claims are unfounded.  He said “Mr. Hawley clearly doesn’t know that Attorney General Koster has instituted the strictest transparency rules in the country for an attorney general, and is operating with the most transparency in the state of Missouri.”

Hawley also calls Jefferson City a “cesspool of corruption” which he says he’ll clean out from the Attorney General’s office.

If elected, Hawley would be the first Republican Attorney General in Missouri in 24 years.  He contends Democrats have brought corruption to the office.

“Those are the years that I’ve see become increasingly enmeshed with special interests.  I’ve seen it develop these serious corruption problems. And all the while the office has been sitting on the sidelines while Washington bureaucrats have been threatening our farmers.”

Hawley further blames Democratic control of statewide offices for economic issues faced by the state.

He said “There’s a reason why our state is 47th of out 50 nationwide in overall in economic growth.  And all that (is) from the leadership of the Democratic Party.

Hawley faces Democratic former Cass County Prosecutor Teresa Hensley in November’s general election.