The billionaire neo-fascist Uihlein family has made thousands (literally) of contributions to right-wing candidates, organizations and causes. Last year Richard Uihlein gave Club for Growth 2 checks for $10 million dollars each, one in January and one in August. In April of last year he also gave them another $4 million-- so $24 million from just Richard Uihlein in 2020. He also gave $10,600,000 to anti-union, anti-domestic spending, anti-Muslim Restoration PAC last year. Normally the Uihlein's give smaller amounts-- like $2 million-- to fringe candidates and organization on the far right. None of the dozens of candidates they've given $500,000 or more to have ever been elected. In 2016, though, Uihlein gave $350,000 to Eric Greitens, who won the Missouri governor's race and signed the Uihleins' pet project, a state right to work law... which was subsequently repealed in a 2018 voter referendum.
Greitens was driven from office in a bizarre s&m sex scandal and has since reinvented himself as a Trumpist extremist and a candidate for the open U.S. Senate seat. The Missouri Republican establishment fears that Greitens can win the primary and then lose the general election and is on an anyone-but-Greitens crusade.
This morning, Politico's Alex Isenstadt reported that Uihlein is giving Greitens super PAC, Team PAC, $2.5 million. "The cash infusion," he wrote, "will give Greitens a financial lift as many of the party’s contributors shun the former governor, who resigned from office in 2018 amid allegations that he sexually assaulted his hairstylist."
The best of the Democratic contenders, Lucas Kunce, who has been endorsed by Blue America-- you can contribute to his campaign by clicking on the Blue America 2022 Senate thermometer on the left-- was very clear this morning about his feelings about Uihlein's attempt to but the election for his pet candidate. "Eric Greitens is a criminal," he told us."To the billionaires and corporate interests propping him up, that's a feature, not a bug. To Missouri voters, this shows Eric Greitens is just another criminal dedicated to protecting the corrupt status quo that's spent decades stripping our community for parts."
Greitens, who is running for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Roy Blunt, will need the money. The former governor could face an avalanche of attacks from Republican establishment-aligned groups amid concerns from party leaders that his nomination would jeopardize the party’s hold on what should be a safe seat and imperil their prospects of winning the Senate majority. In a sign of the possible bombardment to come, former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove, who is deeply involved in the world of GOP outside groups, has openly savaged Greitens and warned that “Democrats, fair or unfair, are going to take him apart.”
The former governor also faces the hurdle of competing for the Republican nomination against a slate of well-funded candidates. The list includes Mark McCloskey, a wealthy personal injury attorney, and state Attorney General Eric Schmitt, whose campaign and super PAC raised a combined $2.8 million during the second fundraising quarter.
Further complicating matters is that Greitens is running without the fundraising team that powered his 2016 gubernatorial bid. Missouri businessperson David Humphreys, who gave more than $2 million to his last campaign, has said he has no interest in helping this time around. Also on the sidelines is major GOP donor Ron Weiser, who played a key role in fundraising for Greitens but is now focused on his role as Michigan state GOP chair. (Weiser, however, has contributed to Greitens' Senate campaign, according to two people familiar with the matter.)
So, too, is Jeff Layman, a prominent Missouri-based GOP fundraiser who served as Greitens’ 2016 in-state finance chair. Layman said in a text message that he isn’t helping any of the candidates in the race “due to my respect for multiple people in the field.”
Greitens has turned to Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr. who is working as the former governor’s national chair. Greitens raised a paltry $27,000 during his first week in the race, though his second quarter fundraising totals, due to be released next week, will present a fuller picture of his campaign finances. Guilfoyle has hosted several Florida fundraisers since joining the campaign in April.
The Illinois-based Uihlein could conceivably give more to Greitens as the race progresses. During the 2018 midterms, he contributed more than $4 million to a super PAC that backed Kevin Nicholson, a Wisconsin Republican Senate candidate who ran unsuccessfully for the nomination. Like Greitens, Nicholson is a veteran and former Democrat.
So far this election cycle, the Uihleins have also provided six-figure contributions to the Republican National Committee and to the party’s House and Senate campaign arms.
Greitens left office following accusations that in 2015 he took his hairstylist to his basement, blindfolded her, bound her hands, and coerced her into performing oral sex. She also alleged that he took a picture of her and threatened to blackmail her if she told anyone about the incident.
Greitens admitted to having an extramarital affair but denied engaging in blackmail, coercion or violence. He ultimately cut a deal with the St. Louis prosecutor’s office that he would resign the governorship if they dropped unrelated charges that he misused a veterans’ charity he founded to help fundraise for his 2016 run.
As he campaigns for Senate, Greitens, like Trump, has cast himself as the victim of an establishment class determined to take him down. He has taken to Trump-aligned media platforms such as Newsmax and War Room, a podcast hosted by former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon, to make his case. He has also surrounded himself with figures in the former president’s orbit, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is slated to host a rally for Greitens later this week.
Imagine being in a world where sex predators like Greitens and Gaetz, crackpots like Sebastian Gorka, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing and criminals like Bannon, Giuliani and Ryan Zinke (another Greitens endorser) are the heroes! Greitens, who's been endorsed by this rouge's gallery is running on all the regular Trumpist hogwash.
Meanwhile, Kunce has built a strong platform that lays out exactly what he wants to accomplish for Missourans in the Senate starting with ending monopoly domination of the economy. "Corporate monopoly power," he wrote, "has destroyed family farms, increased the cost of health care, suppressed wages, made it impossible for small businesses to compete, and shipped countless jobs overseas. It’s made Wall Street and corporate wealth the focus of our politics, not the wellbeing of working families who’ve been left behind... Under the leadership of politicians like Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley, our country has been sucked dry by massive corporations and career politicians who’ve stripped our communities for parts and left our families struggling and divided. Missouri has seen the worst of it, with jobs being shipped overseas, our land and industry being sold to multinational corporations, a living wage becoming harder to come by, and small businesses losing the chance to compete."