The Missouri Democratic party is filing a lawsuit to block Gov. Mike Parson’s appointment of Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe as the state’s new lieutenant governor.
The suit, which the party filed alongside Darrell Cope, a World War II veteran from southern Missouri, seeks to have the appointment deemed illegal and the office kept vacant until an election can be held.
Parson, a Republican, appointed Kehoe, R-Jeff City, on Monday. The office had been vacant since June 1, when Parson vacated it to take over as governor after the resignation of Eric Greitens. The suit was filed late Monday.
There is uncertainty about Missouri’s process for replacing a lieutenant governor. The state constitution does not clearly say whether the governor has authority to appoint the lieutenant governor. Meanwhile, state law says any vacant state office should be filled through gubernatorial appointment, but that law excludes some positions, including lieutenant governor.
Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said he supported the appointment.
“I think the governor is correct that that position needs to be filled,” Richard said. “I think they made the right move.