Missouri Republicans will lose the U.S. Senate seat they have held for 36 years if they nominate controversial ex-Gov. Eric Greitens in 2022, warns Greitens primary rival and six-term Rep. Vickie Hartzler.
In a recent interview with Newsmax, Hartzler pulled no punches about the opponent whose resignation from the governorship in 2018 followed revelations of an extramarital affair and a campaign finance scandal.
“I believe Greitens can’t win in the general election,” Hartzler told us, “His problems in the past could come back and could jeopardize our state from staying in strong, conservative Republican hands.”
Hartzler and Greitens are two of the four heavyweight contenders vying for nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Roy Blunt. The others are state Attorney General Eric Schmitt and St. Louis attorney Mark McCloskey, famed nationwide for pointing a gun at Black Lives Matter demonstrators who marched by their home.
“Right now, the three opponents I have are gentlemen from St. Louis,” said Hartzler, making a not-so-subtle hint that geography benefits her candidacy, “I’m the only person who is running from the western end of the state, a lifelong farm girl who has worked with our military bases all over the state, worked with and fought for our veterans to make sure they have the benefits they deserve and a leader in the pro-life, pro-family and religious issues.”
She noted that “my [4th] congressional district encompasses 24 counties in West Central Missouri and has five media markets. So, I ran and won 6 times in media markets with 56% of the Republican primary vote.”
If nominated, Hartzler, 60, would be the first woman Republican nominee for the Senate since Hazel Powell in 1958. But very much like Margaret Thatcher, she dismisses talk of a “first” for women or “shattering the glass ceiling.”
“I think it’s more my record of getting things done and my love for people of this state that is going to carry the day,” she said, “This differentiates me from my opponents. They talk about what they will do when they get to Washington. I have already been there for 11 years getting results, fighting for our values. [G]oing to the Senate is not [something] you learn on the job.”
Along with her work on the House Agriculture Committee, Hartzler pointed to her hardline on China taken while serving on the House Armed Services Committee.
The Missourian has introduced legislation “so that people who have committed espionage cannot come back to our country. I’ve passed a law so that our federal government can no longer buy certain videos, surveillance and communication equipment from Communist China [and] I introduced legislation before the pandemic to bring our pharmaceutical production back to America so that our men and women in uniform don’t get their medicine from China or from countries that use the active pharmaceutical ingredients produced in China.”
On this issue, Hartzler had high words of praise for Donald Trump because, she told us, “he finally stood up to them and recognized them for the economic and military threat that they are.”
As for the current president, the congresswoman said Joe Biden “has not only turned a blind eye to what happened with the coronavirus, but he’s also talking about giving away intellectual property for the vaccine.”
In a party in which Donald Trump is very willing to support an ally in a contested primary and that support packs a wallop, the inevitable question is whether he will get involved in Missouri’s heated Senate contest and for whom.
“I don’t know,” replied Hartzler, who proudly noted that she and fellow Republican Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer are tied as Missouri’s strongest Trump allies in the House for voting with him 95% of the time, “[The GOP Senate candidates] have all been supportive of the president and he knows that and he knows me. So we’ll see at some point if he wants to endorse or not.”
As to whether she will ask Trump for his endorsement, the congresswoman chuckled and said: “I don’t have his number.”
A poll conducted in mid-June for the much-read Missouri Scout political newsletter showed Greitens at 34% among likely Republican voters, Schmitt at 25%, Hartzler 14%, and McCloskey 7%. Twenty percent of Show-Me State Republicans said they were undecided, meaning the race is wide open.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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