Eric Grettens lost the Missouri Senate primary. It will not disappear from politics

Former Missouri Governor Eric Grettens delivers a concession speech in his bid for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate during an observation ceremony at the conclusion of the Missouri primary, Tuesday, August 2, 2022, in Chesterfield, Mo.

Former Missouri Governor Eric Grettens delivers a concession speech in his bid for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate during an observation ceremony at the conclusion of the Missouri primary, Tuesday, August 2, 2022, in Chesterfield, Mo.

AP

Whatever you want to call the two-minute speech given by former Governor Eric Grettens on election night, it was not a concession.

And Missouri’s attorney general, Eric Schmidt, did not congratulate him on his victory in the Republican primary for the US Senate. He told his supporters that he was proud of them, but never admitted defeat.

Instead, preach patience.

“God has a plan. He doesn’t always work out our schedule, but he does work according to it,” Greettens said. “And sometimes, sometimes we have to be patient. What I can tell you is that I love you guys and will keep working for you, keep fighting for you, keep serving you, every day of my life.”

When the Green Party resigned as governor in 2018, people were quick to assume that it meant the end of his political career. According to the rules of old politics, a A politician usually cannot recover from this kind of scandal. The Greens were indicted twice within months, including in a high-profile sex-extortion case, and were staring at a possible trial by his party.

But there are new rules. Politicians have shown that they can beat scandals by ignoring them. Similar to former President Donald Trump, they have even begun to stop openly admitting defeat after they lost.

“Eric Grettens is the single most competitive person I’ve ever known,” said Jeff Smith, a former Democratic state representative who grew up with the Green Party. To think that losing the election will cleanse him of public life is naive. It is impossible to say how, when, or where, but I am sure we have not heard of the latter.”

This is how at least some Green Party supporters took his speech on Tuesday. John Gottway, mayor of Darden Prairie, said Grettens’ line about patience means he will eventually be on the ballot again.

“That means he hasn’t gone out of politics,” Gutway said. “He will run for another position.”

Gutway, who was at the party, said he hoped the Greens would choose to run for Congress. He felt that the Greens were the best candidate to represent people who were tired of the status quo in politics.

Dylan Johnson for Greitens Campaign manager, did not respond to a request for comment.

But Tuesday raised questions about the strength of the rule. The Greens won only three of Missouri’s 114 counties and lost to Schmidt by 27 percentage points.

The lack of energy surrounding the vegetables can be felt intermittently. If the Trump rally was the pinnacle of MAGA energy, then the Greitens party was its younger, darker, and less fun sibling.

The Trump rally looks a bit like a concert, where fans of the former president show up to hear their leader’s greatest hits. The Greitens event had all the ambiance of a business reception that people attend out of commitment, from the poorly stocked Charcuterie fare buffet to light conversations at the high tables as people swiped on their phones. When I entered the hall, it smelled vaguely from the public restroom. A group of teenagers in bright blue Greitens shirts wandered around the room, patrolling as if they were security personnel.

The show may have weakened the impression of the Green Party’s political strength in Missouri. James Harris Jefferson, a Republican political adviser, said voters showed the true nature of the Green Party while his resignation was still fresh.

“It’s a monster,” Harris said. “He’s someone who probably needs a lot of therapy. If the Greens were smart, they would have waited.”

There is also the issue of money. While the Green Party was battered by outside spending linked to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, it was short of money to respond. While he was able to secure $1 million from fitness influencer Andrew Frisella late in the campaign, many of the donors who helped him become governor didn’t donate to his Senate campaign.

Instead, major Republican donors such as August Busch III Schmidt helped. donors vegetables He once got big donations from, like Steve Cohen, a Connecticut hedge fund manager, and Michael Gauguin, a California-based investor, who didn’t appear in the former governor’s campaign finance reports this time.

“The fuel for any high-profile campaign is money,” Smith said. “And he burned so many of his bridges on that front that I’m not sure how to refuel the engine.”

However, the Green Party has embraced people associated with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon after his resignation and has appeared frequently on Bannon’s podcast while running for Senate. By getting close to Bannon, there is a chance that the Greens can continue to build support among the far right.

“Two weeks ago, I’m sure he believed he was on the right path to redemption by winning a Senate seat and avenging, in his mind, for what happened in 2018. That should be a hard reversal,” Smith said. “But again, he will find a way to fulfill his overall ambition.”

Jonathan Schurman from The Star contributed reporting

This story was originally published August 5, 2022, 11:53 a.m.

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Daniel Desrochers covers Washington, D.C. for the Kansas City Star. He has previously covered politics and government at the Lexington Herald Leader in Kentucky and the Charleston Gazette Mail in Charleston, West Virginia.

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