Democrats hope to flip this GOP-held Senate seat in deep red Missouri

Democrats hope to flip this GOP-held Senate seat in deep red Missouri
Eric Greitens in 2011, Wikimedia Commons

If the 2020 presidential election is any indication, Missouri is even redder than Texas these days; former President Donald Trump carried Missouri by 15 percent but carried Texas by only 6 percent. Although Missouri has some Democrat-friendly congressional districts, Democrats struggle in statewide races in Missouri. But according to Daily Beast reporters Ursula Perano and Zachary Petrizzo, Democrats are feeling optimistic about a U.S. Senate race in Missouri in 2022 because a Republican candidate, former Gov. Eric Greitens, is so badly flawed.

The far-right Greitens is seeking the GOP nomination for the seat presently held by Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, who is retiring.

And Democratic strategists believe that Greitens would be the easiest to defeat if he makes it to the general election.

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“Eric Greitens’ Senate campaign is racking up more backlash by the day,” Perano and Petrizzo explain in an article published by the Beast on July 12. “His once-allies are turning on him, with some calling on the former Republican governor to drop out. And Democrats in the state are practically salivating at the thought of a former governor who resigned in disgrace being their competition this fall. And though Missouri Democrats argue they have plenty to offer, in a state that went to former President Trump by 15 points in 2020, it doesn’t hurt their cause to simply be the anti-Greitens option.”

When Democrats win a statewide race in Missouri, it helps to have a badly flawed Republican candidate — for example, the late Todd Akin, who former Sen. Claire McCaskill (a centrist Democrat who is now an MSNBC pundit) defeated in Missouri’s 2012 U.S. Senate race following Akin’s infamous “legitimate rape” comment. McCaskill defeated Akin by 15 percent.

Greitens has even more baggage than Akin. In 2018, Greitens’ former hairdresser accused him of sexual misconduct, an allegation he denied. And that same year, he was indicted on felony computer tampering charges — although the charges were dropped. Greitens announced his resignation as governor on June 1, 2018.

Lance Kunce, one of the Democrats seeking the Senate nomination in Missouri, told the Beast, “(Greitens’) twistedness and his crookedness and his criminality — like, that’s going to be used against folks in this state…. It’s something that people are worried about.”

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Greitens recently drew widespread criticism for an ad that promotes violence against fellow Republicans. In the ad, Greitens and other Republicans are depicted in military attire as they carry assault weapons and break into a house to go “RINO hunting.” RINO is short for Republican In Name Only.

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