While the presidential election is receiving national attention, another race is occurring a little closer to home. The Missouri gubernatorial election will be Nov. 8, 2016.
Chris Koster and Eric Greitens won the Democratic and Republican nominations, respectively, during the Aug. 2 primaries. Koster was the clear front-runner leading up to this primary, but the race for the Republican nominee was up in the air. Lester Turilli is running as the Independent candidate, and Cisse Spragins is the Libertarian candidate.
Koster was elected to the Missouri Senate in 2005 as part of the Republican Party. He made the switch to the Democratic Party in 2007 after declaring that the Missouri Republicans had become too right-wing. He became the Missouri Attorney General in 2008.
Koster has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund for his strong support of the Second Amendment. He has also received endorsements from the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police the Missouri Farm Bureau, an organization that typically supports the Republican candidate and the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police. Recent polls have shown Koster to be in the lead by a small margin.
Greitens entered the race as a political outsider. He served four tours as a Navy SEAL and founded The Mission Continues, a nonprofit that works with veterans. He made “TIME” magazine’s 2013 list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World and was listed as one of the world’s 50 greatest leaders by “Fortune” magazine. Greitens has been endorsed by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry for his pro-business approach.
If Greitens wins the election, Missouri will be added to the Republican state government trifectas, meaning the party will hold the governorship and the majority in the State House and Senate. The Republican Party currently holds the trifecta in 23 states, while the Democratic Party only has trifecta control in seven states.
Like Greitens, Turilli is new to the world of politics. He has worked previously in executive positions at his family business Meramec Caverns and Caveman Zipline. His political position, which he describes as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, are deeply rooted in his faith.
Cisse Spragins was the vice chair of the Missouri Libertarian Party in 2008 and was elected to chair in 2010. She ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2010 and lost. Spraggins was the only Libertarian candidate to run in the August primary.