Missouri’s primary is so late in the game, it seemed like it would take forever to get here. Yet, here we are, just one week away from it. Several of the races to be decided next Tuesday have a lot of eyes on them — the Democratic primary for the First Congressional District (State Senator Steve Roberts is challenging Congresswoman Cori Bush) and the St. Louis County Executive race (attorney and lobbyist Jane Dueker is challenging incumbent tyrant Sam Page), to name just a couple.
However, the race with the most eyes on it is, no doubt, the race for the US Senate seat that Republican Roy Blunt is vacating at the end of this term. We’ve covered that race extensively here at RedState, so it seems fitting to take stock of things now that we’re in the home stretch.
On the Democrat side, the top two contenders are Trudy Busch Valentine and Lucas Kunce. Per the Missouri Times:
Emerson’s poll gives some long-overdue data for the Democrat primary Trudy Busch Valentine, the heiress to the Anheuser-Busch fortune, leads the poll with 39% of the “very likely” vote.
Lucas Kunce, a veteran and former Pentagon staffer, is in second with 35% of the vote. Leaving him well within striking distance. The game changer in this poll is a whopping 22% of undecided voters.
With the seat currently held by Blunt and Missouri being the red state that it has been of late, conventional wisdom says the race is likely to be decided in the GOP primary. While there are roughly 20 candidates on the ballot for the Republicans, the top-tier candidates have remained the same, with former Governor Eric Greitens, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, and Attorney General Eric Schmitt the lead contenders. (Congressman Billy Long, “Pink-Shirt-AR-15 Guy” Mark McCloskey, and State Senate President pro-Tempore Dave Schatz round out the top six.)
Greitens, Hartzler, and Schmitt have remained within spitting distance of one another in the polls throughout the race. In late March, the Missouri Scout poll had Greitens at 21 percent, Hartzler at 19 percent, and Schmitt at 24 percent.
However, the two most recent polls show Schmitt surging. The Hill/Emerson poll, taken July 21-23, has Schmitt at 39 percent, Hartzler at 25 percent, and Greitens falling back to 18 percent (with undecideds allocated), while the Trafalgar Group poll, taken July 22-24, has Schmitt at 27 percent, Hartzler at 24 percent, and Greitens at 20 percent.
Current fundraising numbers also give the advantage to Schmitt. As of July 13, 2022, Schmitt’s campaign had $3.6 million in receipts, with just north of $1 million on hand. Hartzler was not far behind, with close to $3.5 million in receipts, and $1.1 million on hand. Greitens had $2.2 million in receipts, with $370,000 on hand.
One thing to note about those receipts, as detailed in this article, the bulk of Greitens’ contributions (77.8 percent) have come from out-of-state, rather than from Missourians. In contrast, 77.9 percent of Schmitt’s and 74.4 percent of Hartzler’s have come from in-state.
Schmitt has been endorsed by Senator Ted Cruz (who stumped with him in Missouri on Saturday), Senator Mike Lee, former acting US Attorney General Matt Whitaker, and former National Security Adviser Robert C. O’Brien. On Monday, he picked up another plum endorsement, that of Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The U.S. Senate needs fighters who will take our country back, and I know that Attorney General @Eric_Schmitt has the experience and strength to win in November and get the job done. https://t.co/2WPpCcNC4W
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) July 25, 2022
The wild card in all of this, of course, is whether or not President Trump will opt to weigh in on the race. We know he will not be endorsing Hartzler — he’s made that quite clear. As I noted at the time of that announcement:
While President Trump has called Greitens “smart” and “tough,” he’s also acknowledged there are some drawbacks.
Later, during an appearance on 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. In addition to the significant baggage that accompanied his resignation and continues to swirl regarding his ongoing custody battle, the polling shows the top Democratic candidates fare better head-to-head against Greitens than against Schmitt or Hartzler.
Schmitt hosted a successful fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago in March.
Schmitt brings in $1.6M at Mar-a-Lago event with Trumphttps://t.co/6SOMJoPjmK
— The Missouri Times (@MissouriTimes) March 12, 2022
As noted by the Missouri Times:
Should Schmitt get a Trump endorsement, the primary would essentially be over.
So the question remains: Will he? Or won’t he?
Either way, most Missourians’ eyes will be fixed on this race, anxious to see the outcome on August 2nd.