Republicans launch a well-funded outside group to prevent disgraced former government leader Eric Greitens from winning their upcoming Missouri Senate primary.
The group, called Show Me Values, will begin running TV ads targeting Greitens from Friday. The outfit will air more than $1 million in commercials through the end of June, and a person involved with the organization said it plans to stay involved in the race until the August 2 primaries.
Top Republicans have expressed much of their concern over the past year about Greitens, who stepped down as governor of Missouri in 2018 after allegations that he sexually assaulted his hairdresser. Top party officials, in Missouri and nationally, worry that winning the Republican nomination would jeopardize the party’s ability to maintain the seat in the general election.
The group is funded by a collection of Missouri-based Republican Party backers, including Rex Sinquefield and his wife, Jeanne. (The couple supports Schmitt.) The super PAC is overseen by veteran Republican strategist Johnny DeStefano, a Kansas City native and former top White House official to former President Donald Trump. Donors approached DeStefano earlier this year and expressed an interest in setting up an organization.
One of the group’s TV ads says Greitens was involved in “scandal after scandal”, highlighting allegations by Greitens’ ex-wife that he abused her and her children, which the former governor has denied. Another commercial portrays Greitens as being gentle with China, saying that “while President Trump was cracking down on China, Eric Greitens praised them.”
The ads will appear throughout Missouri, on broadcast and cable television channels in the Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield media markets, as well as on cable statewide.
Greitens has attracted a lot of attention this week after he ran a controversial ad saying he is “hunting” RINOS, or Republicans in Name Only. The video contained images of soldiers brandishing machine guns.
Greitens campaign manager Dylan Johnson lashed out at the super PAC and its ads in a statement.
“These swamp creatures and crooks know their time at the trough is over,” Johnson said. “That’s why they’re afraid of America First champion Governor Greitens.”