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Eric Greitens faces calls to drop out of Missouri Senate race after ex-wife’s abuse allegations

By: - March 21, 2022 1:15 pm

Eric Greitens addresses the media after filing to run in the Missouri Senate primary on Feb. 22, 2022, at the James C Kirkpatrick State Information Center in Jefferson City (Madeline Carter/Missouri Independent).

Former Gov. Eric Greitens is facing calls to abandon his campaign for U.S. Senate following accusations that he abused his ex-wife and children that surfaced in a sworn affidavit made public Monday.

U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, who has been the only major GOP Senate candidate to publicly criticize Greitens over the accusation of violent sexual misconduct that drove him from office in 2018, released a statement Monday saying the latest allegations from former Missouri First Lady Sheena Greitens are part of “a pattern of criminal behavior that makes Eric unfit to hold any public office.

“He should drop out of the U.S. Senate race immediately,” Hartzler said, “and seek immediate professional help.”

Dave Schatz, president pro tem of the Missouri Senate, said in a statement that he has long believed Eric Greitens is unfit to serve in public office.

“In light of today’s evidence showing a long pattern of abuse against his wife and children, he should end his campaign immediately,” he said.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt, another Republican running for the Senate, called the latest allegations “disgusting and sickening.

“The behavior described in this affidavit is cause for Eric Greitens to be in prison, not on the ballot for U.S. Senate,” Schmitt said. “He should end his campaign immediately.”

Attorney Mark McCloskey said Greitens has a pattern of abusive behavior.

“Our party stands for family values, and we should not allow this abusive pervert to undermine that message, he said. “He should drop out before he embarrasses our state any further.”

Democrat Lucas Kunce, who is running for his party’s nomination for Senate, said in a statement that Greitens should step aside.

“Eric Greitens should be in prison,” he said. “He’s unfit to serve.”

Later Monday, the chorus of criticism was joined by U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, who tweeted: “If you hit a woman or a child, you belong in handcuffs, not the United States Senate. It’s time for Eric Greitens to leave this race.”

While serving as Missouri’s attorney general in 2018, Hawley was among the most prominent GOP officials to call for Greitens’ resignation. He also launched a pair of investigations into allegations of misconduct by Greitens, one of which turned into a felony computer tampering charge.

The accusations of abuse are included in a sworn affidavit filed by former Missouri First Lady Sheena Greitens as part of an ongoing child custody.

Among a litany of allegations, Sheena Greitens accuses her ex-husband of’ “unstable and coercive” behavior, including physical violence against her and the couple’s children.

The former governor vehemently denies the allegations, and his attorney has filed a motion with the courts to seal the documents in the custody case.

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Jason Hancock
Jason Hancock

Jason Hancock has spent two decades covering politics and policy for news organizations across the Midwest, with most of that time focused on the Missouri statehouse as a reporter for The Kansas City Star. A three-time National Headliner Award winner, he helped launch The Missouri Independent in October 2020.