Gov. Mike Parson announced that he is appointing Andrew Bailey as the next attorney general of the State of Missouri. The governor made the announcement during a press conference at the State Capitol on the day before Thanksgiving.
Bailey’s appointment will fill the vacancy created by the election of Attorney General Eric Schmitt to the U.S. Senate. Bailey currently serves as general counsel to the Office of Governor Mike Parson.
Many observers had viewed Bailey as the frontrunner to get the appointment from the start. A few other names had been mentioned throughout the state, with a handful interviewing with the governor. Among the names that had been mentioned as a possibility for the appointment was State Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, who lives in Parkville and whose district includes Platte and Buchanan counties.
The Missouri Independent reported Parson had spoke with other potential candidates that included Luetkemeyer, former US Attorney Tim Garrison, Cole County Judge Chris Limbaugh, former State Sen. Kurt Schaefer.
Luetkemeyer declined comment on the topic when contacted by The Landmark.
Bailey, age 41, of Rhineland, will be sworn into the office in early January when Schmitt officially resigns from the role to take his seat in the U.S. Senate.
Bailey has never held an elected office. He started working as Parson’s deputy general counsel in 2019 before Parson hired him to the top position last year.
Bailey told the media on Wednesday that he plans to run for a full term as attorney general in 2024 and is prepared for a primary challenger.
“The historical significance of appointing an attorney general for the second time of our administration has not been lost on me. But such a monumental, history-defining decision can be made so easily with the right candidate, and Andrew Bailey is the right candidate to lead Missourians as our next attorney general,” Parson said.
“While it’s bittersweet to lose Andrew on our team, it gives us peace of mind to know his talents and passion for the rule of law and public service will be so well utilized as attorney general. Andrew understands the need to do better, to be better, and with Andrew, better will not only be possible but achieved.”
“I want to thank Gov. Parson, the entire governor’s office team, and of course my wife and children for their love and support. God has truly blessed me and my family with the opportunities He has granted us,” Bailey said. “I’m excited to get to work on behalf of Missourians to uphold the rule of law, protect freedoms, and ensure our kids and grandkids inherit a better world. My entire career has been defined by public service, and now I’m ready to continue that service as your attorney general, where I will work tirelessly to earn your trust and never stop fighting on your behalf.”
Bailey joined the governor’s office as deputy general counsel in 2019 and has served as general counsel since 2021. He has also served as a Missouri assistant attorney general, assistant prosecuting attorney for the Warren County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and as general counsel for the Missouri Department of Corrections.
Bailey earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Upon graduation, he joined the United States Army as an officer. He was deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in response to the 9/11 attacks. He was awarded two Army Achievement Medals, an Army Accommodation Medal, a Combat Action Badge, and two Bronze Star Medals for his service.
In 2009, he returned from deployment and enrolled at the University of Missouri School of Law. He graduated and began his legal career. Bailey has handled countless cases in both state and federal courts throughout his career.
It was in the courtroom where he heard stories of countless Missouri children in need that motivated him and his wife to become foster parents. Bailey and his wife, Jessica, have four children ranging from 6 months to 10 years old.
“Andrew lives by and embodies the ideals of faith, family, and freedom,” Parson said. “He’ll fight for our kids like they’re his own, and he’ll ensure the American Dream lives on for the next generations. We could not be more excited for him, his family, and the State of Missouri.”
While working as Parson’s general counsel, Bailey helped draft talking points that Parson used to argue that St. Louis Post-Dispatch journalist Josh Renaud should be prosecuted for uncovering a security flaw on the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website. Parson’s effort to prosecute the journalist was roundly criticized by free press advocates and the Cole County prosecutor declined to pursue charges against the journalist in February.
State Rep. Crystal Quade, a Democrat of Springfield who serves as the house minority leader, offered this response to the news of Bailey’s appointment as the next attorney general.
“For four years, Eric Schmitt used the attorney general’s office as a taxpayer-funded arm of his political campaigns, wasting public money on crackpot lawsuits that advanced his political career while tarnishing the reputation of our state.
“Upon taking over in January, Attorney General-designee Andrew Bailey must immediately move to dismiss every one of Schmitt’s frivolous lawsuits that hasn’t already been laughed out of court. This is an essential step to restoring the integrity of the office and demonstrating that, for the first time in years, Missouri has an attorney general who will put the legal interests of all Missourians ahead of the political ambitions of one. We are hopeful Mr. Bailey can succeed in the immense task that awaits him.”
Schmitt unsuccessfully tried to sue China for the COVID-19 pandemic. He filed lawsuits against 47 school districts for enacting mask mandates. He also filed legal actions against the federal government and the Biden administration over a variety of policies, including vaccine mandates and immigration.