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In Missouri, Greitens’ back bid has some GOP on the edge

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ST. LOUIS (AP) – Former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens is asking Republican voters to forgive his past misdeeds when they choose a U.S. Senate candidate next August. Many in the GOP hope they don’t forget.

Greitens resignation of governor in 2018 amid an investigation into an extramarital relationship with a hairdresser in St. Louis was accused of involvement in tie-ups and extortion and led to criminal and legislative investigations. Allegations of a photograph taken without the woman’s consent for the purpose of extortion led to a felony criminal charge, which is finally fell.

Now, he is one of the frontrunners in a crowded field of Republican Senate candidates that includes members of the US House of Representatives. Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long, Minister of Justice Eric Schmitt and lawyer St. Louis, who drew attention by pointing a gun at racial injustice protesters outside his home, Mark McCloskey.

Some Republican leaders worry that Greitens could win the GOP nomination but lose the general election, giving up a crucial Senate seat in what should have been a safe red state. Among them is Hartzler, in particular about a key demographic.

“There are very few women in the state who would vote for him,” she said in a phone interview.

John Hancock, a longtime Republican strategist for Missouri, agrees.

“Certainly suburban women will be a concern, but I think the problem goes beyond that,” said Hancock, who did research for Hartzler’s campaign.

This is not the first time Missouri women have played an important role in deciding a Senate race. In 2012, Democrat Claire McCaskill gave women voters 22 percentage points easily defeating the late Republican Todd Akin. The failed election came after a television interview in which Akin, a staunch opponent of abortion, said it was uncommon to get pregnant under “legal rape” circumstances because The female body can prevent that.

Republican leaders in the Senate concurred that a preliminary victory for Greitens would hand the seats to Democrats. But so far they have taken a rigorous approach, convinced that Greitens’ campaign will succeed as he struggles to raise money and continues to be affected by the scandal, according to two strategists Republicans working on the Senate race, who emphasized anonymity for discussion. internal discussion. That could change if Greitens’ candidacy is successful, strategists said.

On Thursday, Senator Rick Scott, the head of the National Republican Senate Committee, told guest host Kurt Schlicter on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show that there were “real concerns.” ” that Greitens could lose to a Democrat, even though he said he was a Republican primary. will choose someone else.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said at a news conference Thursday that he has yet to make a decision on whether to participate in any primaries because the main season is still in the early stages. stub paragraph. But he said that could change if Republicans were “on the verge of nominating someone who wasn’t elected.”

Federal campaign finance records show Greitens had about $200,000 in his campaign account at the end of September, but also owed about $143,000. Separately, two pro-Greitens super PACs emerged, sponsored by two Republican superpowers.

Missouri First Action, which has yet to release fundraising numbers, announced earlier this month that Home Depot CEO Bernie Marcus has donated $1 million. A separate Greitens-backed super PAC called Team PAC says it has raised $2.5 million from Dick Uihlein, a billionaire shipping supplier.

To date, no other sponsors for these groups have emerged.

Republican voters in Missouri have shown a willingness to forgive — former President Donald Trump sent the state up 19 percentage points in 2016 despite being rebuffed. caught on video lewd comments about women and bragging about infidelity. He gave Missouri 15 percentage points in 2020.

All of the Missouri GOP Senate candidates are endorsing Trump. Greitens has the backing of several Trump insiders, including Michael Flynn and Rudy Giuliani. He appears regularly on Steve Bannon’s podcast. Kimberly Guilfoyle, a Trump campaign adviser and girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., is the national president of Greitens’ campaign, and Trump pollster Tony Fabrizio is doing the work. job for Greitens.

Hewitt, while interviewing Trump earlier this month, begged him not to endorse Greitens.

“It was a nightmare, Mr. President,” Hewitt said. “We’re going to lose that seat.”

“Well, that’s an interesting opinion, it’s true. He’s pretty much in the lead right now,” Trump said, seemingly referencing early polling that showed Greitens at the top or closest among the GOP candidates.

Hartzler, admitting Greitens is an early frontrunner, is taking aim straight at his character.

“I follow the rules,” Hartzler said in her first TV commercial, which came out in October. “I’m out of trouble. And when I need to see a hairdresser, I make an appointment.”

Currently, Greitens’ other opponents mostly ignore his past. Long called it “old news”.

“It’s out there,” Long told the Associated Press in a phone interview. “Everybody runs that thing through the factory. I’ll let someone else talk about those issues. I want to talk about issues that are important to taxpayers and voters.”

Greitens frequently appears on conservative television networks, radio stations, and podcasts but largely avoids the Missouri media and makes little public appearances.

Greitens’ campaign declined interview requests and did not directly respond to emailed questions. But the campaign manager, Dylan Johnson, released a statement on Saturday.

“Governor Greitens is the only America First candidate in this race who will fight for the people of Missouri, just as he did as a Navy SEAL and as governor,” Johnson said. speak. “The political establishment and the RINOs are afraid of losing power to someone who will be an advocate for the people.”

Greitens, a former Navy SEAL officer and Rhodes scholar, was considered by many to be a rising star in GOP politics after being elected governor in 2016. Then, in January 2018, the news broke. about an extramarital relationship that happened in 2015, before he was elected.

The woman said Greitens invited her to his home, where he blindfolded her, tied her up and removed her clothes. He is then said to have taken a photo.

“Don’t even mention my name to anyone, because if you do, I’ll take these pictures and I’ll put them everywhere I can,” she quoted Greitens as saying.

She said the meeting brought her to tears, but admitted the relationship lasted a few more months.

It was the photo that allegedly led to the crime of invasion of privacy. Greitens accused St. Attorney Kim Gardner. Louis Circuit, a Democrat, is political.

In brief order, a committee of the Missouri House of Representatives has begun an investigation and noticed the accusations of a trustworthy woman, and Greitens faces a second felony charge in St. Louis, allegedly provided his political fundraising along with a list of donors to his veterans charity. Greitens has denied any criminal wrongdoing.

The blackmail charge was dropped in May 2018, three days after jury selection, when a judge ruled that Gardner would have to issue a sworn statement about her investigation upon request. of attorney Greitens, who has repeatedly criticized her handling of the case.

The judge appointed Kansas City prosecutor Jean Peters Baker to review the case. A week after Greitens resigned in June 2018, Baker announced that she believed the woman’s claims that Greitens had taken an unauthorized and damaging photo but there was not enough evidence to bring a criminal charge.

Fundraising fees were reduced when Greitens stepped down. Greitens and his wife Sheena divorced last year.

The former FBI agent Gardner hired to investigate Greitens in the invasion of privacy, William Tisaby, was indicted in 2019 on six counts of perjury and one count of tampering with evidence. The indictment accuses him of lying while being brought down in preparation for Greitens’ trial and concealing notes made during an interview with the former governor’s accuser. His trial is scheduled for March.

Meanwhile, Missouri’s chief disciplinary counsel accused Gardner of withholding evidence that would have helped Greitens’ case. She faces a disciplinary hearing in February. Gardner has denied any wrongdoing.

Greitens’ political rebirth appeared to be spurred in February, when the Missouri Ethics Commission ruled on a campaign ethics investigation. The commission found “probable cause” that Greitens’ campaign broke the law by failing to report that it cooperated with PAC in 2016 and ordered the payment of $38,000 in fines. But it also “found no evidence of any wrongdoing against Eric Greitens personally.”

Greitens said the ruling “completely vindicates” him.

https://fox2now.com/news/politics/in-missouri-greitens-comeback-bid-has-some-in-gop-on-edge/ In Missouri, Greitens’ back bid has some GOP on the edge

Huynh Nguyen

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