Aug 06, 2022

Congressman Graves doesn't consider Missouri Senate seat vulnerable

Posted Aug 06, 2022 11:36 AM


St. Joseph Post

Attorney General Eric Schmitt rose above the crowd to win the Republican nomination for United States Senator after a bruising campaign that some suggest might split Missouri Republicans.

Schmitt won more than 45% of the vote among 21 Republican candidates to succeed United States Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican who is retiring. Schmitt defeated Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, who came in second, and former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who was making a political comeback bid. Greitens accused Schmitt of running a smear campaign against him.

Northern Missouri Congressman Sam Graves, a Republican, says despite the cost and rancor of the campaign, it won’t ruin party unity.

“I don’t see as much of a fissure as some people might like to point out,” Graves tells KFEQ/St. Joseph Post. “I think it’s going to be fine.”

Still, some suggest the contentious campaign, especially between Schmitt and Greitens, might split the party, making the seat vulnerable in November.

Graves doesn’t feel the seat is vulnerable.

“It’s sad to see Sen. Blunt leave, but now we’re looking at who those new candidates are going to be and I think it’ll turn out just fine.”

Democrats targeted Kansas last election cycle, though unsuccessfully. Graves isn’t sure whether Democrats will use similar tactics in Missouri.

“That’s hard to tell,” Graves says. “There’s a lot of money out there and, obviously, the control of the United States Senate is at stake. So, I think you’re probably going to see a lot of money flow into the state.”

There might be a lot of money spent during the General Election campaign. Democrats wager they have a better shot, since it is an open seat. Graves is confident Schmitt will win in November.

“Missouri is a conservative state,” Graves says. “I wouldn’t necessarily say Democrat or Republican, but it’s a very conservative state and that’s what people are going to be looking at when it comes to the election in November.”

Schmitt will face Trudy Busch Valentine, a nurse and philanthropist who defeated Marine veteran Lucas Kunce and nine others in the Democratic primary. Republican leaders have long feared that a Greitens win would jeopardize a red state Senate seat in the November. Greitens resigned four years ago. The resignation followed a sex scandal, two criminal charges that were eventually dropped, and the risk of impeachment. This year, his ex-wife accused him of abuse.

There is a wild card in this race. John Wood, a Republican running as an independent, could siphon votes away from Schmitt. Wood has some money behind his campaign. He has the backing of a PAC funded mostly by former Republican Sen. John Danforth.

Sen. Blunt, a Republican, announced last year that he would not seek a third term.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.