Missouri AG leads GOP Senate primary field as Greitens drops: poll

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is leading the state’s Republican Senate primary field and outpacing controversial former Gov. Eric Greitens by double digits, according to a survey from Emerson College Polling and The Hill released on Tuesday. 

Thirty-three percent of very likely Republican primary voters in Missouri said they planned on voting for Schmitt in the party’s primary, while 21 percent said they would vote for Rep. Vicky Hartzler. Sixteen percent said they would vote for Greitens. 

Rep. Billy Long garnered 5 percent in the poll, while Mark McCloskey and Dave Schatz trailed at 4 percent and 2 percent, respectively. Seventeen percent of very likely GOP primary voters remain undecided. 

The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. 

Republicans in Washington, D.C., and Missouri have expressed trepidation over the thought of a Greitens candidacy.

The former governor has been embroiled in scandal over the past year and has faced bipartisan backlash. Last month Greitens rolled out a new video where he is shown holding a shotgun and urging his supporters to go “RINO hunting,” referring to “Republicans in name only.”

Greitens has also been accused of abuse by his ex-wife, Sheena Greitens, who said he grew physically violent with her and her children. He was forced to resign from his governor’s post in 2018 after allegations of campaign finance violations and sexual assault of a woman he was dating surfaced. 

Retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), whom Greitens is running to succeed in the Senate, has said that the former governor should drop out. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who has endorsed Hartzler, also called for Greitens to exit the race. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, did not call on Greitens to drop out but called the allegations “pretty disturbing.”  

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates Missouri’s Senate race as “solid Republican.” 

On the Democratic side of the aisle, the Emerson College Polling-The Hill survey showed what has basically become a two-way race between Anheuser-Busch beer heiress Trudy Busch Valentine and Marine veteran Lucas Kunce. Valentine leads with 39 percent of Democratic primary voters, while Kunce follows at 36 percent support. 

The survey from Emerson College Polling and The Hill was conducted July 21-23 using a combination of IVR and SMS-to-web, and each have a sample size of 1,000 which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.