Eric Defeats Eric in a Battle of GOP Election Deniers

Eric Schmitt won the Missouri US Senate primary.

On the eve of Missouri's GOP primary for US Senate, Donald Trump endorsed 'ERIC'...leaving it to the voter's imagination which Eric (Eric Greitens, the state's former governor, left, or Eric Schmitt, the state attorney general) he meant.Mother Jones illustration; Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/ZUMA; Bryan Olin Dozier/NurPhoto/ZUMA; Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/ZUMA

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Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt easily won the Republican primary for US Senate in Missouri, one day after former President Donald Trump jointly (and very strangely) endorsed both Schmitt and a top rival, former Gov. Eric Greitens.

The defeat of Greitens—who resigned in 2018 after allegations that he sexually assaulted and blackmailed a hairdresser (he has denied any wrongdoing)—will calm the nerves of Republicans who feared that he would jeopardize a seat the party is likely to hold in November. It will also come as a relief, more broadly, to people of various persuasions who don’t think someone who has also been accused by his ex-wife of abuse (Greitens has also denied those allegations) should hold high office. So that’s over with now.

But as I wrote on Tuesday, Schmitt may lack Greitens’ personal baggage, but he’s a fairly radical nominee in other contexts:

When Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has been under indictment for securities fraud for seven years, filed a lawsuit in December 2020 attempting to coax the Supreme Court to throw out the electoral slates from three Biden-won states—a lawsuit so sloppily argued that it has since triggered a lawsuit against Paxton by the State Bar of Texas—Schmitt filed an amicus brief in support of his effort. His office then led the effort to get more Republican AGs to sign on; ultimately 16 of them did. Paxton’s false claim that those states carried by Biden had conducted illegitimate elections—and that therefore those results should be overturned—was the intellectual basis, such as it was, for January 6.

Schmitt was the vice-chair of the Republican Attorneys General Association when the group’s 501(c)(4) arm, the Rule of Law Defense Fund, sent out robocalls urging Trump supporters to show up to the National Mall on January 6, 2021, although he has denied any involvement in that expenditure. After the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in March, Schmitt boasted of making Missouri the first state to “effectively end abortion.” He has since sued St. Louis in an effort to block the city from using federal funds to help women access reproductive care in other states.

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