Eric Schmitt defeats former Gov. Eric Greitens in Missouri GOP Senate primary, NBC projects

FARMINGTON, MISSOURI – JULY 31: Eric Schmitt, Missouri Attorney General and Republican Senate candidate, addresses supporters at Hall Pavilion at Englar Park on July 31, 2022 in Farmington, Missouri. Schmitt is hosting campaign events the final weekend before the Aug. 2 primary election in Missouri. He is the frontrunner in the primary race that includes former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, to replace incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

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Eric Greitens, the scandal-ridden former Missouri governor who launched a return bid against the wishes of many republicanswill lose the state’s GOP Senate primary bills, NBC News.

Eric Schmitt, currently the state’s attorney general, is expected to run in the general election, where he will compete with a Democratic candidate for the seat vacated by retired Republican Senator Roy Blunt.

Early results mark a resounding defeat for Greitens, who fully embraced the former president donald trump and fought against recent domestic violence allegations as he sought to return to the political forefront.

Greitens had announced his candidacy for the Senate nearly three years after resigning from the governor’s office amid accusations he blackmailed a hairstylist with whom he was having an affair. Greitens admitted to the appointment, but refuse he had threatened to publish nude photos he had taken of her if she revealed the affair.

He was charged with invasion of privacy related to the alleged blackmail. Greitens was also accused of illegally using a list of charitable donors to help fund his 2016 gubernatorial campaign. Both charges were fall around the time Greitens stepped down in June 2018.

Eric Greitens, Governor of Missouri, pictured at the Robin Hood Veterans Summit in New York.

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Those and other scandals led mainstream Republicans to to worry about a Greitens bid jeopardizing the party’s hold on a Senate seat in a state that otherwise reliably votes Republicans for high office. Democrats are desperate to retain their slim majority in the Senate, but their control of the chamber is threatened by a difficult political environment, exacerbated by the president Joe Bidenunpopularity and recent economic turbulence.

Greitens had completely aligned himself with Trump during his Senate campaign, including echoing Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud marring the 2020 presidential election. Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, joined Greitens’ campaign as national co-chair.

But the former president ultimately didn’t give Greitens an unqualified endorsement. Instead, he bizarrely endorsed “Eric” in the Missouri GOP Senate Primary, where two of the best candidates are named Eric.

“I trust the Great People of Missouri, on this one, to make up their own minds,” Trump said in a social media post on the eve of the primary.

Greitens and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt touted Trump’s announcement as if it were a personal endorsement.

Polling averages of RealClearPolicies showed that Greitens had a smaller lead over one of the leading Democratic primary candidates than either of his two biggest Republican primary contenders.

After Sheena Greitens filed court documents in March alleging Eric Greitens abused her and their young son while they were married, many top Republicans called on Greitens to give up.

“If you hit a woman or a child, you belong in handcuffs, not the United States Senate,” said Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who investigated Greitens when he was Missouri attorney general.

Blunt himself said Greitens “shouldn’t be running for Senate” if Sheena Greitens’ allegations are true.

Correction: This article has been updated to correct the photo of Eric Schmitt.

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