We’ve been reporting on the US Senate race in Missouri. Following Roy Blunt’s announcement that he would not be seeking another term, multiple candidates announced their bid for the seat, including former Governor Eric Greitens, current Attorney General Eric Schmitt, US Representative Vicky Hartzler, and US Representative Billy Long.
While early polling shows Greitens with an edge, a Trafalgar Group poll last week showed that of the top three candidates, Greitens fared the worst in head-to-head match-ups with the top Democrat candidates. Presumably, this is due to the hefty baggage Greitens carries with him, following his 2018 resignation in the face of scandal/controversy (and criminal charges) involving an affair with his hairdresser and allegations that he photographed her in a state of undress and threatened to publish the photo(s) if she revealed the affair, as well as allegations regarding the improper use of a campaign donor list. (Which also explains the push by Democrats to cross over and vote for him in the primary with an eye toward torpedoing Republican chances of holding the seat.)
On Monday, news broke regarding domestic abuse allegations against Greitens, stemming from an affidavit filed by his ex-wife, Sheena Chestnut Greitens, in connection with pending litigation over the custody of their children. Per the Associated Press:
In the affidavit, Sheena Greitens casts her ex-husband as someone who threatened to use his political connections and influence in order to destroy her reputation to win custody of the children.
“Prior to our divorce, during an argument in late April 2018, Eric knocked me down and confiscated my cell phone, wallet and keys so that I was unable to call for help or extricate myself and our children from our home,” Sheena Greitens wrote in the filing. “I became afraid for my safety and that of our children at our home,” later adding that his “behavior included physical violence toward our children, such as cuffing our then-3-year-old son across the face at the dinner table in front of me and yanking him around by his hair.”
Following the revelation, the other candidates vying for the nomination each issued statements regarding the allegations — and none of them pulled their punches.
Vicky Hartzler (currently suspended from Twitter for daring to challenge the preferred narrative regarding transgender athletes) took to Facebook and posted this video, calling for Greitens to drop out of the race:
“Real men never abuse women and children. Period — end of story. It’s time for Eric to get out of the Senate race and to get professional help,” Hartzler said.
Per the Springfield News-Leader:
Hartzler, the only woman in the Republican field, has been a vocal opponent of Greitens thus far in the campaign. She released an early ad pointing to previous allegations against him, saying “when I see a hairdresser, I make an appointment.” After officially filing for election in February, she told reporters she wouldn’t vote for Greitens if he won the Republican nomination.
Missouri’s Attorney General, Eric Schmitt, also a top contender for the seat, went a step further, asserting that Greitens belonged in prison, not a U.S. Senate race:
The behavior described in this affidavit is cause for Eric Greitens to be in prison, not on the ballot for U.S. Senate. He should end his campaign immediately. 2/2 #MOSen
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) March 21, 2022
Congressman Billy Long also expressed his disgust with the revelations, calling on Greitens to drop out.
Like most of America I'm shocked and appalled by what was in Sheena Greitens' sworn affidavit about Eric Greitens. He is clearly unfit to represent the state of Missouri in the United States Senate. There’s no way he can stay in this race.
— Billy Long (@auctnr1) March 21, 2022
Two other candidates, Missouri Senate President Pro-Tem Dave Schatz and Mark McCloskey also weighed in:
Schatz also called on Greitens to “end his campaign immediately,” saying that the allegations show “a long pattern of abuse against his wife and children.” McCloskey said in a statement that “clearly Eric deserves to be in jail more than helping to lead our country.”
While they will no doubt be looking to distinguish themselves in the coming months as they fight for the GOP nomination, it appears that the candidates (minus Greitens) are united on this front.
But it isn’t just his would-be opponents who’ve reacted strongly to news of the allegations. Josh Hawley, who’ll soon be the senior Senator from Missouri and will be serving with whoever wins the seat come November, had this to say:
If you hit a woman or a child, you belong in handcuffs, not the United States Senate. It’s time for Eric Greitens to leave this race https://t.co/RgCow67dDW
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) March 21, 2022
Greitens, of course, denies the allegations (and they are only allegations at this point, albeit allegations contained in a sworn affidavit). Instead, he implies Sheena Greitens, currently an associate professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin, is mentally unwell.
Eric Greitens has now released statements calling her ‘deranged’ and saying:
“I will continue to love and care for my beautiful sons with all of my being, and that includes fighting for the truth and against completely fabricated, baseless allegations. I am seeking full custody of my sons, and for their sake, I will continue to pray for their mother and hope that she gets the help that she needs…Sadly, political operatives and the liberal media peddle in lies. However, I have faith, and I know that ultimately truth will always prevail.”
Further, Greitens contends that his ex-wife’s allegations are connected to Mitch McConnell, stemming from his vow to vote against McConnell as leader should he win the seat.
On that point, Greitens and Congressman Long appear to be in agreement:
— Billy Long (@auctnr1) March 21, 2022