The race for the US Senate seat Roy Blunt (R-MO) is vacating at the end of the year has been a hot one — particularly for the Republicans. The GOP is a red state, Missouri. Should hold onto the seat (although it’s considered “likely” for Republicans, rather than “safe”).
It is unknown whether Donald Trump would endorse the candidate before August 2nd. All of the candidates in the top tier, including Attorney General Eric Schmitt and former Governor Eric Greitens as well as Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler and Congressman Billy Long have been reported to be interested in that endorsement.
While Trump hasn’t announced his pick, over the weekend, he did announce who he wouldn’t be endorsing — Congresswoman Hartzler:
While Hartzler has sought Trump’s endorsement in a tight Republican primary, the former president said in a post on the social media app Truth Social Friday night that voters could “forget” about backing Hartzler.
“You can forget about Vicky Hartzler for Senate from the Great State of Missouri,” Trump said on the platform.
Trump also added:
“She called me this morning asking for my endorsement, much as she has on many other occasions,” Trump wrote. “I was anything but positive in that I don’t think she has what it takes to take on the Radical Left Democrats, together with their partner in the destruction of our Country, the Fake News Media and, of course, the deceptive & foolish RINOs.”
— Missouri Independent (@MO_Independent) July 9, 2022
This despite the fact that Missouri’s soon-to-be senior Senator, Josh Hawley, has endorsed Hartzler.
In response, Hartzler’s campaign issued a statement to the Missouri Independent, asserting the “endorsement that counts is the endorsement of the Missouri people who know I am one of them and have been fighting for them.”
Eric Schmitt for his part has made himself a fighter and is ready to fight the D.C. Swamp.
He is incompetent and corrupt, as well as authoritarian. That’s Joe Biden.
I’m going to DC to fight for working people, for freedom and bring back President Trump’s America First agenda.
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) July 11, 2022
The Greitens camp was quick to seize on the announcement, with Kimberly Guilfoyle (fiancée of Don, Jr., and national co-chair of Greitens’ campaign) tweeting:
Only one Missouri Senate candidate has the courage & brains to take on the Radical Left, the Fake News Media, and the RINOs.
Ultra-MAGA is the candidate. @EricGreitens.https://t.co/UkzYZUKTgv
— Kimberly Guilfoyle (@kimguilfoyle) July 10, 2022
While President Trump has called Greitens “smart” and “tough,” he’s also acknowledged there are some drawbacks.
Later, in an appearance the pro-Trump OAN TV network, Trump was urged by interviewer Chanel Rion to throw his weight behind Greitens because he is only candidate in the primary to openly condemn Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“He’s the one the Democrats legitimately want to run against,” Trump said, before later adding: “Eric is tough and he’s smart. A little controversial, but I’ve endorsed controversial people before. So we’ll see what happens.”
There’s a reason the Democrats “legitimately want to run against” Greitens. The polling indicates that Greitens is far more popular than Schmitt and Hartzler, despite the considerable baggage that was associated with his resignation.
Trump appears to be familiar with these issues — whether that will ultimately influence his decision to endorse remains to be seen.