ST. LOUIS – Criminal defense attorney David Mueller will run for St. Louis Circuit Attorney next year, making him the first to announce a run against incumbent Kim Gardner.

Mueller is the founder of Mueller Law Group, LLC in Clayton. He was raised in north St. Louis County and has nearly a decade’s worth of experience in criminal justice.

Mueller tells FOX 2 he officially filed the paperwork to seek election for circuit attorney in 2024.

“The office has to be back in a functional place,” said Mueller in a phone call with FOX 2. “The dysfunction in the office is the root cause of the problems the city is seeing, the citizens are saying. I’m running because I can put that office back to rights and by doing so can finally advance the progressive platforms we’ve been looking for.”

Mueller is also concerned by recent population trends in the city and says something needs to change, so that the city doesn’t fall below a quarter-million residents. He adds that he wants to rebuild trust between residents and the circuit attorney’s office.

“People want to live here and raise their children here, [but] the problem is they don’t feel safe,” said Mueller. “Beyond not feeling safe, they don’t feel like their safety is prioritized or matters to the circuit attorney’s office. I want to change that trust in the office for the citizens.”

Gardner, who currently holds office, is faces a Tuesday deadline to respond to allegations of neglect from the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. Gardner is under criticism for an incident in February during which out-of-town teenager Janae Edmondson suffered a life-changing injury due to a driver who was out on bond awaiting trial for armed robbery.