Aug 3, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt wins GOP Senate primary

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt speaks to reporters in front of the Supreme Court of the United States on Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt speaks to reporters in front of the Supreme Court of the United States on April 26. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Missouri attorney general Eric Schmitt won the state's GOP Senate primary on Tuesday, edging out a 21-candidate field to replace incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt (R), the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: Schmitt, who emerged as a frontrunner during the final week before the primary, benefited from Republicans pouring millions to try to prevent disgraced former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens from winning the primary.

  • Greitens has been embroiled in scandal and Republicans feared that his victory could lose the GOP an otherwise safe Senate seat in November as the party seeks to win back the majority, Politico notes.

Driving the news: Schmitt attached himself to former President Trump throughout the campaign and said in an ad that he vows to "take a blowtorch to the Biden agenda," per the Missouri Independent.

  • Schmitt, 47, has distanced himself from the establishment wing of the Republican Party, saying that he's "not interested in getting invited to cocktail parties" in Washington.
  • "We need more Trump Republicans who are willing to fight on big important issues and be unafraid and be disruptors," Schmitt said. "And that’s why I’m running."
  • Trump, who on Monday endorsed "Eric" in the primary field that includes three candidates named "Eric," faced pressure from Republicans to endorse Schmitt, who was the only candidate in the race to have held an event at Trump's resort, per Politico.
  • Publicly, both Schmitt and Greitens claimed Trump’s backing.
  • Schmitt received backing from a number of Republicans, including former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

The big picture: Schmitt has served as Missouri attorney general since 2019 and previously was treasurer of Missouri and a member of the Missouri State Senate.

  • He's been a vocal critic of the Biden administration's policies and has been involved in blocking the repeal of Title 42 and in the legal battle to overturn the results of the 2020 election, per the Missouri Independent.

State of play: The crowded GOP primary was led by Schmitt, Greitens, who has been accused of abuse by his ex-wife, and Rep. Vicky Hartzler during the final weeks leading up to the primary.

  • A Republican super PAC has spent millions on ads blasting Greitens for being soft on China and highlighting recent allegations of domestic abuse made by his ex-wife in a sworn affidavit.
  • Greitens denied the claims, saying they are politically motivated.

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