ST. LOUIS – Three days after Kim Gardner abruptly resigned as the St. Louis Circuit Attorney, her replacement has been announced.
Gabe Gore has been named the next St. Louis Circuit Attorney. Gore will finish out the rest of Gardner’s term through January 2025.
Gore most recently served as a member of the Dowd Bennet law firm and is described as an “experienced trial lawyer who concentrates on complex civil litigation and white collar defense,” according to the law firm’s website.
Gore will take over an office recently deemed as a “rudderless ship of chaos” by one St. Louis judge. He will inherit an office that experienced a dwindling number of prosecutors in recent months under Gardner. The office has a backlog of thousands of pending cases to review and has already had some dismissed this week amid the transition.
Gov. Mike Parson appointed Gore after 18 candidates, including five judges, applied for consideration. Parson reiterated several times that he wanted to find a candidate who represented the St. Louis community, values and public safety.
Parson’s office adds he was looking to appoint a candidate with the following qualifications:
- Commitment to the written rule of law
- Strong managerial experience
- Record of fair and just application of state and local law
- Member of the St. Louis community
After mounting legal challenges, Gardner officially resigned from her role as St. Louis Circuit Attorney on Tuesday, nearly two weeks before she initially planned to step down.
Before then, she was facing a quo warranto lawsuit from the Missouri Attorney General and an indirect criminal contempt case, both accusing her of neglecting various duties as circuit attorney.
Outrage against Gardner stems from a tragedy in February involving Janae Edmondson, an out-of-town teenager who suffered a life-changing injury in St. Louis due to a driver who was out on bond awaiting trial for armed robbery.
Gardner, the city’s first African American chief prosecutor, agreed to step down if state lawmakers would drop their push to approve a special prosecutor to handle felony cases in the city.
She initially intended to resign on June 1, but that date moved up her last date to Tuesday. On an interim basis, Parson appointed counsel Evan Rodriguez to fill in as the acting circuit attorney prior to Friday’s selection.
Gardner easily won the Democratic primary for circuit attorney in August 2016 over three challengers, including former St. Louis prosecutor Mary Pat Carl, and ran unopposed in the November general election. She assumed office on Jan. 6, 2017. In 2020, Gardner beat Carl again in the primary en route to landslide victory over Republican Daniel Zdrodowski.
Before becoming circuit attorney, she was a congresswoman in the Missouri House, representing District 77, covering part of St. Louis City. She won Democratic primaries in 2012 and 2014 by wide margins and ran unopposed in general elections. She declined to seek a third term, opting to run for circuit attorney.
Gardner earned a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration from Harris-Stowe State University in 1999. She attended Saint Louis University School of Law and earned her Juris Doctor (law degree) in 2003. She went back to SLU and procured her master’s degree in nursing in 2012.
She began her law career at Bell, Kirksey & Associates, and worked at the circuit attorney’s office from 2005 to 2010.
Gardner, born and raised in north St. Louis City, worked at her family’s funeral home. On her re-election campaign website, she said seeing the effects of violent crime first hand inspired her to get involved in the healthcare and justice systems.