Republicans are launching a well-funded outside group to stop disgraced former Gov. Eric Greitens from winning their upcoming Missouri Senate primary.
The group, called Show Me Values, is set to start running TV advertisements targeting Greitens, beginning Friday. The outfit is set to air more than $1-million worth of commercials through the end of June, and a person involved with the organization said it planned to remain involved in the race up until the Aug. 2 primary.
Top Republicans have spent much of the last year expressing deep concerns about Greitens, who stepped down as Missouri governor in 2018 amid allegations that he sexually assaulted his hairdresser. Top party officials, in Missouri and nationally, worry that should he win the Republican nomination, he would jeopardize the party’s ability to retain the seat in the general election.
Polls have consistently shown Greitens ahead his primary rivals, including state Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Rep. Vicky Hartzler and Rep. Billy Long.
The group is being funded by a collection of Missouri-based Republican Party donors, including Rex Sinquefield and his wife, Jeanne. (The couple is backing Schmitt.) The super PAC is overseen by veteran Republican strategist Johnny DeStefano, a Kansas City native and former top official in former President Donald Trump’s White House. Donors approached DeStefano earlier this year and expressed interest in setting up an organization.
One of the group’s TV ads says Greitens was involved in “scandal after scandal,” and highlights allegations from Greitens’ ex-wife that he abused her and her children, which the former governor has denied. Another commercial paints Greitens as soft on China, saying that “while President Trump was getting tough on China, Eric Greitens was praising them.”
The ads are set to run across Missouri, on broadcast and cable TV channels in the Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield media markets as well as statewide cable.
Greitens has drawn a wave of attention this week, after he released a controversial advertisement in which he says he is “hunting” RINOS, or Republicans in Name Only. The video featured footage of machine gun-wielding soldiers.
Greitens campaign manager Dylan Johnson hit out at the super PAC and its ads in a statement.
“These swamp creatures and grifters know their time at the trough is finished,” Johnson said. “That’s why they’re scared of America First champion Governor Greitens.”