COLUMBIA, Mo. – As he considers a campaign to be Missouri’s next attorney general in 2016, a University of Missouri law school professor has taken a step he would likely have to take if he were to decide on a run.
For now, Josh Hawley is not listed to be teaching next semester.
Hawley, a Republican who teaches constitutional law here, is not on the school’s schedule to teach classes this summer, fall or next spring. The rules that guide faculty at the University of Missouri preclude professors from running for political office while also teaching by requiring them to take a leave as soon as they file to run for office.
In a message on Monday, Hawley said he is simply keeping his options open.
“I have the option to take leave next academic year, and I just haven’t decided whether I will. That’s why I’m not currently listed,” he said.
Hawley, who served as a lawyer for Hobby Lobby in its successful challenge to the contraception mandate in the federal health care law, has been traveling the state over the past year speaking at campaign events and meeting with donors and activists. He has done so while talking about his foundation, the Missouri Liberty Project. Hawley has promoted it, and the foundation has filed a number of briefs supporting lawsuits challenging the Obama administration. Still, his own political ambitions have been implicit in his presence on the campaign trail.
State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, a Republican who represents Hawley in the legislature, announced his own campaign for attorney general last year. Two Democrats have also said they are running for the office which will be vacated by Democrat Chris Koster.