The top law enforcement official in Cape Girardeau County carries a lot of responsibility on his shoulders.
Christopher Limbaugh, a Republican, was appointed recently to the prosecuting attorney post by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.
Limbaugh, who received bipartisan support, has a tough task ahead of him.
First he must live up to the high standards of prosecution set forward by outgoing Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle, who accepted a federal prosecuting job. Swingle, some recent misgivings notwithstanding, was a very good prosecutor. He held the job longer than anyone else, serving in the role since 1987. Swingle became an assistant prosecutor in 1982.
Fairly or unfairly, Limbaugh also will bear the weight of his name. Locally, the Limbaugh name is highly respected and valued. His father, Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr., a federal judge and former chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court, was a prosecutor in the 1970s. His grandfather was a prosecutor in the 1950s before becoming a U.S. District Judge. Some will speculate Christopher received the appointment because of his lineage, and he'll need to prove that he can stand on his own two feet.
Then there is the nationally famous and politically charged radio personality, Rush Limbaugh. Again, Christopher Limbaugh may have to deal with some perceptions with that kin association as well.
Christopher Limbaugh should be given the opportunity to be his own man. He is just two years out of law school, so he quickly will need to learn his way around the prosecutor's office. He's worked at the Limbaugh Law Firm in civil and criminal law settings since passing the Missouri Bar in April 2011. The learning curve will be steep, but we wish him nothing but the best in this new role. One of the biggest challenges of being the prosecuting attorney is understanding and following through on the thousands of details that build a successful case as well as understanding the big picture of resources, staffing and leadership.
We sincerely hope Christopher Limbaugh will be just the type of prosecutor this county needs.