Trump refuses to take sides, backing ‘ERIC’ in Missouri GOP’s explosive Senate primary showdown
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Former President Donald Trump backed “ERIC” in the highly publicized and combative GOP nomination race for the Missouri Senate on Monday on the eve of the state’s primary.
After teasing hours earlier that he would make an endorsement in the race, Trump declined to choose between two of three primary favorites — Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.
Instead, Trump threw his support behind them both.
“I trust the Great People of Missouri, on this one, to make up their own minds, just like they did when they gave me landslide victories in the 2016 and 2020 elections, and so I’m proud to announce that ERIC has my full and full approval!” the former president wrote in a statement released by his political action committee Save America.
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Schmitt, who won two statewide elections in Missouri – for treasurer and later for attorney general – has made headlines over the past year and a half, suing numerous lawsuits against President Biden’s administration. He is leading the latest polls in the race.
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Greitens, a former Navy SEAL who left office in 2018 amid multiple controversies, was once the undisputed leader of the primary race but for months has been battling his ex-wife’s allegations that he abused his life. her and their child. Greitens denies the allegations.
There’s a long list of Republicans who fear Greitens’ political baggage could jeopardize what should be a relatively safe GOP seat in November. An anti-Greitens super PAC spent more than $6 million this summer running ads targeting the former governor.
The two Erics, along with Rep. Vicky Hartzler, who represents Missouri’s 4th congressional district in the mostly rural midwestern part of the state, lead a field of more than 20 Missouri Republicans vying for the party’s Senate nomination, in the race to successfully retire GOP Sen. Roy Blunt.
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Other members of the Republican race include Rep. Billy Long in the state’s 7th congressional district in southwest Missouri, and Mark McCloskey, the St. Louis attorney who, along with his wife, has made national headlines in the summer of 2020 for holding weapons outdoors. their home to keep Black Lives Matter protesters away.
Greitens quickly took to Twitter after Trump’s statement was released, saying “I’m honored to receive President Trump’s endorsement.”
He also claimed that “from the start I was the true MAGA champion battling against the RINO establishment backing Schmitt”.
RINO only means Republican by name.
Schmitt also took to Twitter, writing “I am grateful for President Trump’s endorsement. As the only America First candidate who has truly fought for election integrity, border security and against the indoctrination of our children by the left, I will lead this fight in the Senate to SAVE AMERICA!”
Greitens, Schmitt and Hartzler all worked to gain the former president’s approval. But Trump said earlier this summer that he would not support Hartzler.
Harzler, in an interview with Fox Digital on Monday, bragged that she was the one “fighting for [Trump’s] The America First agenda in Washington, which has worked alongside the president to jump-start our economy…I’m the real conservative in this race. I’m the one with a track record and getting things done.”
The winner of Tuesday’s GOP primary will likely face Trudy Busch Valentine, a philanthropist and beer family heiress, or Lucas Kunce, a former Marine who is waging an aggressive populist-style campaign in November. Both candidates lead the polls in a crowded field of 11 Democratic candidates.
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Missouri was once a competitive state but has had a Republican streak over the past decade, and the winner of the GOP Senate primary will be considered the frontrunner in November’s general election.
Former President Clinton in 1996 was the last Democrat to win the state in the race for the White House and then Senator. Claire McCaskill’s victory in 2012 was the last time a Democrat won a Senate election in the state. Trump won the state by 18 points in his 2016 presidential election victory and 16 points in his 2020 reelection loss.