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Greitens’ former aide, federal prosecutor issues primary challenge to Missouri AG Bailey

Less than a month after being sworn in, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey already has a Republican lead challenger for the 2024 election.

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Scharf, a Republican from St. Louis, officially announced Tuesday that he would launch the race against Bailey. Scharf, 36, also served as director of policy in the brief administration of former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.

“Year after year, election after election, we have entrusted our government to the same select group of political insiders, lobbyists and special interests, and we expect to get different results,” Scharf said in a statement Tuesday. “Instead, the results are the same, year after year, election after election. Our cities are overrun by crime. Jobs and businesses flee. Schools are failing. Our fellow citizens are suffering. Missouri deserves better.

Scharf, who left the US attorney’s office last November, is the first person to issue a challenge to Bailey.

The new Attorney General has never held elected office. Bailey previously served as general counsel to Governor Mike Parson before Parson nominated him to the position following the election of Republican Eric Schmitt to the US Senate.

Last week, Bailey confirmed he would seek full-time election.

“I am a combat veteran who has never backed down from a fight and a prosecutor who has defended Missouri communities by putting violent criminals behind bars,” Bailey said in a statement last week.

The Attorney General position serves as the top attorney in Missouri and is widely regarded as the second most powerful statewide position in the state behind governor. It has also been used as a political stepping stone. More recently, Sens. Schmitt and Josh Hawley both used the position as a path to higher office.

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