Koster Says Greitens And The 'Blow-It-Up' Wing Of Republicans Are Wrong For Missouri | KCUR

Koster Says Greitens And The 'Blow-It-Up' Wing Of Republicans Are Wrong For Missouri

Aug 27, 2016

At a crowded campaign stop in Clay County, Missouri, on Saturday, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Koster emphasized his opponent Eric Greiten's lack of experience in government. 

"The Republicans have nominated someone who has literally no experience in state government, who actually sort of uses ignorance as his calling card," Koster said. 

He continued by comparing his opponent to Donald Trump and pointing out that his campaign ads, which feature Greitens shooting guns and detonating explosives, is an accurate metaphor for a new faction of Republicans.

"He's part of this new thing that is occurring - this 'blow-it-up' party. The 'blow-it-up' wing of the Republican party," he said. 

He said that mentality will never promote cooperation between parties. Even within the Republican party, he said, people are wary of their nominee for Governor.

Koster, by contrast, says he can bring people together. He pointed to recent endorsements from the Missouri Farm Bureau and the Missouri Cattlemen's association — who have historically backed Republicans. 

Greitens, at a campaign stop in Lee's Summit on Friday, criticized Koster for his lack of leadership as Attorney General in Ferguson in the weeks after Michael Brown's death. 

Koster acknowledges that there are many lessons that have come from those events, but he says allegations that he wasn't on the front lines are wrong. 

"I think that he simply misunderstands the degree to which I was there on nearly a daily basis," Koster said.

"I was the first statewide officer who was there at the command center, the first statewide office holder that was to the line, the first statewide officer holder across the line to be there talking to protesters, I think I was the first statewide office holder to be there after nightfall."

Koster also blamed the Republican-controlled legislature for underfunding public education. He said in East Lynne, Missouri, a tiny town in Cass County, children only go to school four days a week.

"Four years ago, these poor school districts came to the general assembly and they said, 'Look, we're starving. Either fully fund the foundation formula, or let us close our doors one day a week, because we cant afford to stay open five days a week.' And the legislature said 'Okay, you can go to school four days a week."

Koster's statements on education funding have caught the attention of Gov. Jay Nixon, who called comments Koster made in a statement last earlier this week an 'unfair characterization' of the work he's put in during his time as governor to try and increase funding. 

Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter for KCUR. Connect with her on Twitter @larodrig