Editor's Note: This article is part of a series that introduces the candidates and topics for the November 2020 vote.
Of the five statewide offices that will be on the Missourian ballot this fall, the governor has undoubtedly the greatest job. But you can represent the Attorney General well in second place.
The state's chief attorney and the hundreds of attorneys in their office are responsible for defending the state, its citizens, and its interests in all kinds of legal matters.
One section deals with crimes from across the state, another deals with consumer fraud and monopolies, and still another deals with Medicaid fraud and the Big Tobacco scheme.
Then there's the headline-making stuff: the office defends the state laws criticized as unconstitutional, sued for the removal of corrupt officials from office, and filed lawsuits against anything the attorney general deems harmful, including the federal government.
Here are your options as to where to rest from those responsibilities:
Schmitt, 45, is the incumbent Republican. He was named to the job following Josh Hawley's election to the U.S. Senate in 2018.
He was previously elected treasurer in 2016 and previously a senator for part of St. Louis County. Before entering politics, he worked in private legal practice.
Schmitt & # 39; s campaign has been heavily focused on his efforts to combat violent crime: one of his television reports calls him Missouri's "Attorney General for Crime, Law and Order".
This focus is a bit unusual as state law leaves most of this work to the local district attorneys. However, Schmitt got around this by working with the US law firms to indict federal crimes.
Schmitt & # 39; s office said the partnership has resulted in 369 charges against 212 defendants, with 52 convictions as of that week.
A campaign ad said he could "impose stricter penalties on violent criminals," although this is far less important than convictions, since criminals generally care less about the severity of a punishment than whether or not they are punished at all.
With that in mind, Schmittlob asked for legislation that would allow him to take on St. Louis' chief prosecutor's cases and said she hadn't charged enough people.
The measure was passed in the Senate, but Republican-controlled Houserefused accepted it in a special session.
Criminologists also asked how much Schmitt could really do, noting that most of the murders in St. Louis cannot be prosecuted because the police have not solved them.
Schmitt also talks about how he helped sue fraudulent opioid manufacturers, fight human trafficking, and work through a backlog of previously untested sexual assault kits to bring perpetrators to justice.
The 36-year-old Finneran is the democratic challenger.
He spent eight years as a federal attorney specializing in white-collar crime in St. Louis and now has private practice.
He says he will also fight crime and work on issues like housing shortages and access to health care while he is at it.
Finneran said his first priority, however, is "restoring the integrity" of the office by ending Schmitt's "political complaints".
Top of his hit list is a lawsuit to end the Affordable Care Act, which bans health insurers from denying coverage under pre-existing conditions and allows more people to qualify for Medicaid, the government's health program for the poor.
"The lawsuit is a totally inadequate use of taxpayers' money to deprive the Missouri people of health care protection, especially following the vote we held in August to expand Medicaid," Finneran said in a recent interview.
(Schmitt has said he's just doing his job questioning a law he believes is unconstitutional.)
Finneran said he will also drop a lawsuit against China for handling the pandemic "with no chance of recovering a single dollar," and stop trying to defend a state law that bans abortion in the eighth week of pregnancy, which he called it "unconstitutional as written". ”
(A federal judge blocked the law from coming into force last August. Schmitt is appealing this decision.)
Finneran said he will also defend against legal attacks on Clean Missouri, a voter-approved ethics revision and redistribution of laws.
Babcock, a St. Louis attorney, is the libertarian candidate. Previously, he served as a public defense attorney and told the Fulton Sun he would focus his tenure on improving the playing field between prosecutors and defendants.
"The attorney general's focus should be on justice, not just beliefs," he told the newspaper.
Part of it would also be to raise funds for the state's public defenders, who are consistently among the worst-financed in the country.