Eric Greitens heading to Arizona once again to tout election fraud conspiracies 

The trip marks the second time the former governor has campaigned for a Missouri Senate seat in Arizona

By: - October 5, 2021 11:35 am

Former Gov. Eric Greitens speaks the Macon County Lincoln Days dinner in April 2021 (Andrew Murphy photo).

The so-called “audit” of Arizona’s presidential election results wound up adding to Joe Biden’s margin of victory there. 

But that doesn’t matter to Eric Greitens.

The former governor is once again taking his campaign for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat to Arizona, chasing the ghosts of election fraud conspiracies that have been discredited time and again. 

In doing so, he’s casting his lot with the purveyors of the “Big Lie” that seek to undermine confidence in the outcome of the 2020 election and foment the grievances that fueled the Jan. 6 insurrection.

He’s also signaling his allegiance to the former president whose endorsement is seen as key to victory in Missouri’s crowded GOP Senate primary. 

“We need to have audits across the country,” Greitens said in a recent campaign video, “because we must get election integrity back.” 

After six months of work on the audit — including inspecting ballots for traces of bamboo to determine if they were imported from Asia and reportedly scanning them with UV lights to look for secret watermarks — a company called Cyber Ninjas released a report that failed to show that Donald Trump was cheated of victory.

But Greitens has rejected that outcome, focusing instead on allegations that have been disproven by local election officials and outside experts that 50,000 votes were cast illegally. 

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On Tuesday, Greitens announced he was traveling to Arizona to meet with elected officials to discuss the “need to decertify the Arizona election results and to ensure safe and secure voting happens in subsequent elections across the country.”

The trip marks the second time Greitens has campaigned for a Missouri Senate seat in Arizona. 

In June, he skipped out on one of the year’s largest gatherings of Missouri Republicans — the annual Lincoln Days in Kansas City — in order to travel to Arizona to witness the audit up close

More recently, Greitens asked Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers to Missouri to endorse him and tout his support for the audit.

While every candidate in the crowded GOP Senate primary has embraced the “Big Lie” to some degree — from Attorney General Eric Schmitt waging an unsuccessful legal fight to overturn results in battleground states won by Biden to members of Congress voting against certifying Biden’s electoral college victory — none have gone as far as Greitens. 

Largely shunned by Missouri’s GOP establishment, which helped run him out of office in 2018, Greitens has adopted the grievances of the former president and made them his overarching campaign message. 

Missouri Scout, a political newsletter in the Show-Me State, recently published a poll of likely 2022 Republican primary voters that showed Trump with an 83% approval rating. 

Greitens approval rating in the poll stood at 34%. 

Yet despite the low approval, Missouri Scout’s polls have consistently shown Greitens leading the five-way primary. 

Given the fact that Greitens’ tenure as governor ended after only 18 months when an avalanche of scandals forced him to resign to avoid impeachment by the GOP-led legislature and to settle felony charges, GOP leaders fear he could cost the party a U.S. Senate seat if he is the nominee.

At one point, lawmakers even considered creating a run-off system that would lessen the chances of Greitens emerging from a splintered primary. 

For Greitens, the calculus has worked before. He became governor in 2016 after squeaking out a win in a four-way GOP primary with only 34.5% of the vote. 

Now, he is counting on the “Big Lie” to help him make a comeback. 

“We need to get answers,” Greitens said recently in a television interview. “Not just in Arizona, but also in Michigan and Wisconsin and Georgia, and also, a full audit here in Missouri.” 

Trump won Missouri in 2020 by 15 percentage points. 

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Jason Hancock
Jason Hancock

Jason Hancock has been writing about Missouri since 2011, most recently as lead political reporter for The Kansas City Star. He has spent nearly two decades covering politics and policy for news organizations across the Midwest, and has a track record of exposing government wrongdoing and holding elected officials accountable.

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