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All eyes on ex-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens inside Senate primary

All eyes on ex-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens inside Senate primary

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens hopes to complete a stunning political comeback on Tuesday while voters small the meadow for a pivotal spot inside the U.S. Senate.

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt's announcement last year that he would not seek a third word place off a frenzy for his job, accompanied by almost trio dozen people inside the place of set of two greatest parties filing to run. With jurisdiction of the Senate at stake, Democrats are hoping to pick up what should exist a protected from danger seat inside red-state Missouri.

Greitens, Attorney General Eric Schmitt accompanied by every one one other accompanied by U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler are seen while the leading contenders inside the 21-person Republican field. Others include U.S. Rep. Billy Long accompanied by every one one other accompanied by St. Louis attorney Mark McCloskey, who gained notoriety inside 2020 when he accompanied by every one one other accompanied by his spouse pointed guns at ethnic injustice protesters outer external outside their home. Some Republican leaders fret that nominating the scandal-scarred Greitens could not shut the door for a Democrat to go nearer earliest inside inside November.

The Democrats are led by 13-year Marine former soldierold hand Lucas Kunce, who has never held office nevertheless who has outraised everyone inside both parties, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Trudy Busch Valentine, a philanthropist, former nurse accompanied by every one one other accompanied by an heiress to the Busch family ale fortune.

Election officials were projecting concerning one-third of the state's registered voters would cast ballots. Early earlier to noon turnout was "a little lighter than we were expecting" inside the state's largest jurisdiction of St. Louis County, said Eric Fey, one of the election directors there. Absentee voting had been slower than anticipated inside the Kansas City suburbs of Jackson County, said the county's co-election director Sara Zorich.

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Greitens, a former Navy SEAL officer accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Rhodes scholar, had been executive for a year when inside January 2018 he confirmed a TV report concerning a 2015 extramarital affair. He was subsequently charged accompanied by felony invasion of privacy for allegedly taking a nude photo of the woman accompanied by every one one other accompanied by using it while blackmail to retain her quiet. That inquire inside remittance was dropped months subsequent amid allegations that the leader inspector accompanied by every one one other accompanied by local prosecutor mishandled the investigation.

Greitens, 48, says he was the victim of a political hit.

He excessively faced a following inquire inside remittance that year accusing him of illegally using a donor list from a non-profit-making organization he founded to lift money for his campaign. That inquire inside remittance was dropped when he resigned inside June 2018 following the Missouri House began an impeachment investigation.

This year, Greitens' ex-wife accused him of abuse inside an affidavit inside a child custody case. She cited one instance where Eric Greitens allegedly slapped their then-3-year-old son's face accompanied by every one one other accompanied by yanked him by the hair. In another, she accused him of pushing her to the ground.

Greitens denied the allegations accompanied by every one one other accompanied by accused his ex-wife of colluding accompanied by Republican stalwarts such while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to sabotage his campaign. Sheena Greitens said she worked accompanied by no indeed indeed one.

Greitens excessively drew censure inside June for a military operation video showing him brandishing a shotgun accompanied by every one one other accompanied by declaring he's hunting RINOs, or Republicans In Name Only, a word popularized by former President Donald Trump accompanied by every one one other accompanied by his allies to deride signify or setting up Republicans. Facebook pulled the ad.

Schmitt, 47, has gained watching for lawsuits that critics contend are politically motivated. He sued China over the coronavirus; educational organization districts over disguise mandates; accompanied by every one one other accompanied by the city of St. Louis over its scheme to provide $1 million for women to journey not here of condition for abortions.

Hartzler, 61, is a former place of residence economics teacher accompanied by every one one other accompanied by condition lawmaker earliest elected to Congress inside 2010. She is a Trump supporter who voted opposed to certifying results of the 2020 presidential election. Yet Trump went not here of his way last month to speak he wouldn't spine Hartzler.

On Monday, Trump expressed support inside a communal media pole for "ERIC," presumably meaning either Schmitt or Greitens, lacking picking inside the centre of them. There is a third Eric inside the Republican primary, comedian accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Navy former soldierold hand Eric McElroy.

"I trust the Great People of Missouri, on this one, to build up their own minds, a a large amount of while they did when they gave me landslide victories inside the 2016 accompanied by every one one other accompanied by 2020 Elections, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by I am therefore pleased to announce that ERIC has my Complete accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Total Endorsement!" Trump wrote.

Political committees backing Greitens accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Schmitt fast cranked not here election eve phone calls claiming Trump's endorsement.

Kunce, 39, received his own large endorsement Monday — from Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Kunce served tours of duty inside Afghanistan accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Iraq. Like Senate candidate John Fetterman inside Pennsylvania, Kunce is a populist hoping to go nearer earliest inside spine rural voters. He wants to ban merchandise ownership for members of Congress, shatter up corporate monopolies accompanied by every one one other accompanied by extremity overseas ownership of agricultural land. He said the management should pay not here money to rebuild the heartland, not to build up overseas countries.

Valentine, 65, is the feminine child of August "Gussie" Busch Jr., the longtime chair accompanied by every one one other accompanied by CEO of Anheuser-Busch who built the St. Louis-based brewery into the world's largest beermaker. The brewery was sold to InBev inside 2008. Valentine said she entered the competition following witnessing the "division inside our country accompanied by every one one other accompanied by the vitriol inside our politics."

Winners of the Democratic accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Republican primaries could face an self-governing candidate who by that hour dated has significant monetary support. John Wood, 52, a lifelong Republican, former U.S. attorney accompanied by every one one other accompanied by most not lengthy ago a top inspector for the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection has the backing of a political deed committee led by former Republican Sen. John Danforth.

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Salter reported from O'Fallon, Missouri. Associated Press author David A. Lieb contributed from Jefferson City, Missouri.

All eyes on ex-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens inside Senate primary

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