Eric Schmidt NBC News reported that he won the Republican nomination for the Missouri Senate, ending a comeback bid for the state’s disgraced former Gov. Eric Greitens.
According to preliminary results, the state Attorney General Schmidt led Rep. Vicky Hartzler, with Gretens third. He will face the winner of Tuesday’s Democratic primary between Marine Corps veteran Lucas Koons and Anheuser-Busch beer fortune heir Trudy Busch Valentine. It’s too early for this game.
The GOP race draws a lot of attention to the primary in a solid red state.
A win for Gretens could make the general election more competitive to succeed Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, who is not seeking a third term this fall. John Wood, a former investigator on the House Jan. 6 committee, launched a separate bid, in part because of concerns over Gretens’ nomination. A longtime Republican, Wood has strong support from former Sen. John Danforth, who is funding pro-Wood super PACs.
With a 50-50 battle for control of the Senate, the national Republican group would rather not spend money defending the Missouri seat.
Gretens, who had been hoping for a last-minute boost from former President Donald Trump, ruled out backing Hartzler and vowed to back the campaign at the last minute on Monday. Trump has praised Gretens in the past, and his eldest son’s partner, Kimberly Guilfoyle, ran Gretens’s campaign. But Trump eventually issued a public endorsement of “Eric” — meaning Schmidt or Gretens — and said he believed Missouri voters “make their own decisions.”
Gretens, once a rising star in state politics, resigned as governor in 2018 following an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct and campaign finance violations. While Gretens admitted to having an extramarital affair with a woman who accused him of taking nude pictures of her without her consent, he has denied the more serious allegations. A felony charge of invasion of privacy was later dropped. The same goes for the investigation into his campaign finances.
His ex-wife’s recent allegations that Gretens abused her and their young son — accusations Gretens denies — are theme Show Me Values, an anti-Greitens super PAC, has spent more than $6 million on advertising, according to ad tracking firm AdImpact. Show Me Values was the biggest spender in the primary, followed by PACs that backed Schmitt. Greitens spent $137,000 on advertising alone, despite an aligned super PAC providing more than $2 million in air cover.
A former Navy SEAL, Gretens also drew criticism for a campaign video showing him in tactical gear and armed with a shotgun on a “RINO hunt” — the first of a “republican in name” acronym. Facebook removed the video for violating its policy against incitement to violence. But in the final weeks, the game was basically a three-man matchup of Schmidt, Hartzler and Gretens.
Schmidt was selected from a field of 21 candidates that also included Rep. Billy Long and St. Louis attorney Mark McCloskey, who was arrested for waving a rifle at Black Lives Matter demonstrators outside his home. Arrested, he was given a chance to speak at the 2020 Republican Convention.
Since serving as the state’s attorney general in 2019, Schmidt has described himself as a staunch opponent of President Joe Biden, citing his office’s lawsuit against the administration.
“I wake up, I go to the office, I sue Joe Biden, and I go home,” Schmidt likes to say.
Hartzler, who is backed by the state’s other Republican Senator, Josh Hawley, has often tried to sway her by treating her main rivals as two insultingly identical Erics. differentiate yourself.
“This Eric has a rifle in his ad and Eric Schmitt is playing with a blowtorch,” Hartzler said in a recent ad. “So I brought my chainsaw. Just kidding.”
The Democratic primary with 11 candidates, centered on Kunze and Valentine, drew less attention.Koons likes to contrast his populist messages with Valentine’s insider messages, in National Circle of Progress And got a last-minute endorsement from I-Vt Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday.
Ben Kamisa contributed.