Eric Greitens to face new GOP attacks in Missouri Senate race

The long-awaited effort to prevent Eric Greitens from becoming the Republican nominee for Missouri Senate is finally underway. The big ...


The long-awaited effort to prevent Eric Greitens from becoming the Republican nominee for Missouri Senate is finally underway. The big question is whether it is too late to stop it.

A robust and well-funded Republican campaign to highlight The personal scandals of Mr. Greitens — which include allegations of domestic and sexual abuse — using at least $1 million in paid TV ads as of Friday, according to five people familiar with the project.

Politics first signaled the arrival of the new super PACShow Me Values, which is run by Johnny DeStefano, a former campaign and White House aide to former President Donald J. Trump.

Leaders of the campaign to arrest Mr Greitens, which is led by a coalition of donors in the state who support his two main rivals, hope to fundamentally alter the dynamics of a race that has been stagnant for months by sounding a beat drumbeat of allegations regarding the disturbing and erratic behavior of the former governor of Missouri.

But as they seek to avoid jeopardizing what is most likely a secure Republican Senate seat, they face a tight schedule ahead of the Aug. 2 Missouri primary, and it’s unclear if new Details about Mr. Greitens’ alleged conduct will resonate with GOP voters. There’s also a major X-factor in the race: the attitude of Mr. Trump, who has yet to endorse a primary candidate.

Mr Greitens’ story has long been the subject of scrutiny – and new accusations have regularly emerged.

In 2018, he resigned as governor amid allegations that he sexually abused a hairdresser with whom he was having an extramarital affair. Mr. Greitens denies the charges, which the woman detailed in sworn testimony during an impeachment inquiry by other Republicans in the state.

His ex-wife, Sheena Greitens, an expert on Asian geopolitics, left him after the allegations came to light and moved to Texas, and the couple are now in a bitter legal battle for custody of their school-aged children. .

In an affidavit released in April, Ms Greitens accused her ex-husband of having a tendency to abusive behavior, including allegedly “handcuffing our then 3-year-old son across the face” and “pulling him by the hair”. Both are in arbitration, meaning Mr Greitens did not attend a videotaped deposition. A lawyer for Ms Greitens, Helen Wade, did not respond to a voicemail on Thursday.

The former governor has denied any wrongdoing, and on Thursday his campaign pointed to a previous statement provided to The New York Times by Tim Parlatore, an attorney for the candidate. The alleged abusive behavior “never happened”, Mr Parlatore said, and he accused Ms Greitens of lying.

At a hearing on Thursday, Ms Wade said Ms Greitens received death threats this week after Mr Greitens was released. a violent new political video which shows him armed with a shotgun and storming a house in search of “RINOs”, or Republicans in name only, with what appears to be a SWAT team wielding military-style rifles.

“She’s scared,” Ms Wade said, according to the Kansas City Star. “That hasn’t happened before. This video suggests the use of violence against all RINOs.

So far in the Senate primaries campaign, no TV ads have aired exposing Ms Greitens’ most recent allegations. One of the new Show Me Values ​​adverts will focus on his accusations, claiming that Mr Greitens has faced “scandal after scandal”, according to two people familiar with its content.

Most voters weren’t even aware of the details of the hairdresser’s allegations, according to a public opinion poll conducted months ago by a rival campaign.

So far, Mr. Greitens is ahead of his closest challenger, Eric Schmitt, the Missouri attorney general, by about 3.5 percentage points. racing show poll averages.

Mr. Schmitt has the support of Save Missouri Values, a super PAC funded by Rex Sinquefield, a wealthy retired investor who is a major player in state politics. Mr. Sinquefield is also the main funder of Show Me Values, the new super PAC.

Mr. Greitens is not waiting to be attacked. This week, he drew widespread condemnation of the RINO-hunting political video.

“Join the MAGA crew,” Mr. Greitens, a former Navy SEAL, says in the video, which was not shown on TV. “Get a RINO hunting license. There’s no bagging limit, no labeling limit, and it doesn’t expire until we save our country.

The question of whether Mr. Trump will step in with an endorsement hangs over the primary.

Allies of Mr. Schmitt and Rep. Vicky Hartzler, another Senate candidate who trails Mr. Schmitt closely in most polls, have warned Mr. Trump and his allies against endorsing Mr. Greitens.

“With Katie Britt’s big win in ALABAMA tonight, I’m happy to report that WE (MAGA!) are 12 WINS AND ZERO LOSS in the U.S. Senate primary races this cycle,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. , its Twitter-like social network. media site. He made no mention of the fact that he had previously backed Mr Brooks, before criticizing his candidacy when it became clear he was losing.

In Missouri, Mr. Trump’s notoriously chaotic decision-making process is complicated by the fact that his son Donald Trump Jr. and his fiancĂ©e, Kimberly Guilfoyle, support Mr. Greitens.

The young Trump advised his father to let the primary develop more before endorsing anyone, according to two people familiar with his thinking. Allies of Mr. Greitens are eager to tie any effort to attack him to Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader who is a frequent target of Mr. Trump’s ire. A spokesman for Mr Trump said he was not aware of an approval “imminent”.

Republicans in Washington fear that if Mr. Greitens manages to win the primary, he will burden their party with an embarrassing and expensive candidate who could hand over the seat to the Democrats.

Ms. Guilfoyle is the national campaign finance chair for Mr. Greitens. Despite his help, his campaign struggled to raise funds, according to the latest campaign finance reportsforcing it to rely almost exclusively on one Republican donor – billionaire shipping magnate Richard Uihlein, who gave at least $2.5 million to a super PAC supporting the candidacy of Mr. Greitens.

Mr. Uihlein and Mr. Sinquefield both contribute to the Club for Growth, the influential anti-tax group that has tangled with Mr. Trump’s candidates in several Republican primaries this year.

Another great PAC that some expected to be a player in the race, a pro-Hartzler group called Secure Our Freedom Action Fund, led by former National Rifle Association officials Chris Cox and David Lehman, has yet to spend a dime on the race. Mr Cox did not respond to an email seeking comment on Thursday.

Rounding out the bottom of the colorful field are Rep. Billy Long, a longtime candidate backed by Kellyanne Conway, Mr. Trump’s former White House adviser and campaign manager; Dave Schatz, a businessman and state senator who presents himself as a neo-Reaganian; and Mark McCloskey, a former personal injury lawyer best known for an incident of 2020 in which he was pictured brandishing an AR-15-style rifle on his lawn as Black Lives Matter protesters marched past his ornate home.

Now, with just under six weeks until Election DayRepublicans in Washington and in the camps of Mr. Greitens’ rivals are getting worked up.

Ms Hartzler’s campaign started airing this week a new ad promoting the endorsement of Senator Josh Hawley, a close ally of Mr Trump who has been a key supporter of his stolen election allegations.

“There are a lot of Republicans running for the Senate,” Hawley said in the ad. “I know them all.”

Mr. Hawley was Missouri’s attorney general while Mr. Greitens was governor, and the two men are fierce rivals.

In 2018, Mr Hawley accused Mr Greitens of misusing his veterans charity’s donor list and called on him to quit during the allegations involving the hairdresser. The move helped sideline Mr. Greitens, a potential rival for Missouri’s other Senate seat, which Mr. Hawley assumed after beating Claire McCaskill, the incumbent Democrat, in 2018.

For weeks, political circles in Missouri have been inundated with more than their usual mix of rumors, armed political gossip and intrigue. The dominant question posed by Mr. Greitens’ enemies in St. Louis and Jefferson City: When, if ever, will the cavalry arrive?

Democratic activists in the state have openly debated whether to try to help Mr. Greitens in the primary, on the theory that he would be an easier opponent in the fall.

But it has been many years since Democrats have been viable in statewide races, others have warned. Mr. Trump carried Missouri by more than 15 percentage points in 2020.

“Political Russian roulette,” said Jeff Smith, a former state legislator and Democrat. “Not in this Missouri. The stakes are too high.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Eric Greitens to face new GOP attacks in Missouri Senate race
Eric Greitens to face new GOP attacks in Missouri Senate race
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