Missouri GOP Senate showdown: Schmitt says Greitens’ baggage is ‘definitely a concern’

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt stresses he’s “a fighter” and argues he’s in the “best position” to win his state’s crowded and contentious Republican Senate primary in the race to succeed retired GOP Senator Roy Blunt.

“We are in the best position in this race for a bunch of reasons, not the least of which is that I think Missourians are looking for a fighter, someone who will never give up on the state that is fighting Joe Biden. right now,” Schmitt pointed out in an interview with Fox News in Orlando at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the oldest and largest annual gathering of right-wing leaders and activists.

Schmitt boasted that “we do. We win. We were the first state to file the vaccination mandate, we won. people are looking for. Someone who is not afraid, who will fight. And that’s what I do as Attorney General and bring that same fighting spirit to the Senate.


Other leading contenders in the race include former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, who left office in 2018 amid a sex scandal and accusations of election misconduct, Rep. Vicky Hartzler in the 4th Congressional District in the mostly rural Midwest part of the state, Rep. Billy Long in the 7th congressional district in southwestern Missouri, and Mark McCloskey, the St. Louis attorney who, along with his wife, made national headlines in the summer of 2020 for holding guns outside their home to warn Black Lives Matter protesters.

GOP Senate candidate and former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens speaks with Fox News at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida on February 24, 2022

Polls suggest Greitens retains the edge over his main rivals, and speaking to Fox News at CPAC, he claimed “we have the approval of the people of Missouri” and “we support a strong border. We support the election integrity. One of the other reasons we’re winning is as the only true America First candidate in this race.”

Greitens was attacked last week by several of his rivals as they formally filed their campaigns for the Senate and highlighted his controversies, questioning whether Democrats could overturn what should be a safe GOP-held seat in a state. increasingly red if the former governor wins the Senate nomination.


Greitens pushed back, noting that criminal charges of sexual misconduct were dropped and the former FBI agent who investigated the case was later charged with perjury and tampering with evidence.

And even though he paid fines for allegedly misusing a veterans charity’s donor list for his 2016 gubernatorial campaign, Greitens told Fox News, “After the longest investigation of his story, the Missouri Ethics Commission came out and they said, ‘We found no evidence of any wrongdoing by Eric Greitens. So the people of Missouri know I’ve been exonerated.’

But Schmitt said the possibility of the former governor winning the Senate nomination is “certainly a concern. You hear that everywhere.”

“I think when I win the nomination, all these concerns [go away] because you have someone who can win the primary, win the overall. And the stakes are high. It’s a 50-50 Senate. You can’t lose Missouri and take the Senate.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022 in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022 in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

As Fox News first reported, Schmitt was recently endorsed by conservative Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. But another popular figure on the right, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, backed Hartzler.

Schmitt said he looked forward to serving in the Senate with Josh Hawley. And I was certainly grateful for the endorsement of Senator Cruz, talk about a conservative fighter in the Senate who fights for all the right things. . Hawley in the Senate because we have to save this country.”


Greitens, in his interview with Fox News, underscored his promise not to support longtime GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell, one of Trump’s main rivals in the party, the former governor pointed out: “I’ve also been very clear that when I’m in the Senate, I’m going to vote for the new leadership of America First.”

When asked if he would support McConnell if he won the election, Schmitt replied: “I’m not going to deal with hypotheticals. I have to get there first. I’m a little too superstitious, but I I certainly would when it comes down to it, lean on the advice of friends and supporters like Ted Cruz and people like Mike Lee.”


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