JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Republican Gov. Mike Parson on Wednesday named his general counsel, Andrew Bailey, to replace U.S. Sen.-elect Eric Schmitt as Missouri's attorney general.
Bailey, a 41 year old who has never held elected office, previously served as an assistant attorney general and assistant prosecuting attorney for Warren County.
Bailey's appointment marks the fourth time Parson has picked a replacement for a vacant statewide elected seat and Parson's second time naming a new attorney general, a coveted position often used as a launching pad for higher political office.
No other Missouri governor has filled more than three empty statewide elected positions, making Parson the most influential in Missouri history in terms of his impact on the executive branch through appointments.
“The historical significance of this decision has not been lost on me,” Parson said Wednesday outside his Capitol office. “Few Missouri governors have had the opportunity and responsibility to appoint an attorney general on behalf of the people of Missouri once, let alone twice.”
Parson also was not initially elected to his current position. He ascended from lieutenant governor after former Republican Gov. Eric Greitens resigned in the face of potential impeachment.
Naming a new lieutenant governor to replace him was among Parson's first acts as governor in 2018 when he took over for Greitens. Parson named Mike Kehoe, a longtime state Senate colleague, to the No. 2 position.
Within months the attorney general’s seat became vacant when then-Attorney General Josh Hawley defeated former U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill in a race for her seat.
Parson turned one appointment opportunity into two: naming then-Treasurer Eric Schmitt to be the next attorney general and former state House budget leader Scott Fitzpatrick to the treasurer’s seat.
Parson will name yet another statewide official to replace Republican Scott Fitzpatrick as state treasurer after voters in November elected him auditor.