Every Missouri Democrat I know is hoping former Democrat-turned-Republican Eric Greitens wins the crowded race for the state's Republican open seat Senate nomination... but not because he's a former Democrat. That's water way under a host for bridges. They want Greitens to get the Republican nomination for the same reason they wanted Todd Akin to win the Republican nomination in 2012. Like Greitens today, Akin was an extremist nut who was viewed as unelectable in a general election. There were 8 Republicans in the 2012 primary and Akin took 36% to John Brunner's 30% and Sarah Steelman's 29.2%. Akin was the least mainstream and he only managed to take 39.1% of the general election vote.
Today Greitens, plagued with tawdry sex scandals from when he was forced to resign as governor in 2018 to avoid being impeached, is the most extreme lunatic in a primary that already has 10 Republicans (with 2 more toying with announcing)-- and he's polling ahead of the pack, which includes state Attorney General Eric Schmidt, two members of Congress (Billy Long and Vicky Hartzler) and Mark MCloskey, more a vanity candidate who captured a lot of attention when he and his wife threatened peaceful BLM demonstrates with guns. Greitens has already been endorsed by a host of Trump-world crackpots, from Rudy Giuliani, Mike Flynn, Joseph DiGenova and Victoria Toensing, Dennis Prager and Bernard Kerik to Trump, Jr.'s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle and Hungarian Nazi Sebastian Gorka. Trump himself hasn't endorsed anyone in the race yet, although Greitens is right up his alley.
2020 wasn't even close in what was once considered a presidential swing state. Trump trounced Biden 1,718,736 (56.8%) to 1,253,014. Sad. The 15 most Trumpified counties are also counties where the morons are refusing, in big numbers, to be vaccinated, The state is 49% fully vaccinated, bad enough, but look at the big Trump districts:
Mercer Co.- 85.8% Trump (32% fully vaccinated)
Bollinger Co.- 85.4% Trump (30% fully vaccinated)
Stoddard Co.- 84.8% Trump (36% fully vaccinated)
Osage Co.- 84.4% Trump (37% fully vaccinated)
Wayne Co.- 84.2% Trump (33% fully vaccinated)
Barton Co.- 84.1% Trump (31% fully vaccinated)
Wright Co.- 84.1% Trump (33% fully vaccinated)
Ripley Co.- 84.0% Trump (26% fully vaccinated)
Carter Co.- 83.8% Trump (30% fully vaccinated)
Putnam Co.- 83.5% Trump (30% fully vaccinated)
Holt Co.- 83.3% Trump (38% fully vaccinated)
Douglas Co.- 83.2% Trump (22% fully vaccinated)
Harrison Co.- 82.9% Trump (30% fully vaccinated)
Texas Co.-82.9 % Trump (30% fully vaccinated)
Dent Co.- 82.7% Trump (28% fully vaccinated)
Writing for Politico a couple of days ago, Natalie Allison reported that all the other Republicans in the race agree on one thing: Greitens, a frequent guest on Bannon's insurrectionist podcast, must be stopped.
“Heaven forbid Eric Greitens ever did get into the United States Senate,” said Gregg Keller, a Missouri political strategist who briefly served as an adviser to GOP Sen. Josh Hawley’s 2018 campaign.
Pointing to Greitens’ baggage-- he resigned the governorship in 2018, midway through his first term, following allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman-- many Missouri Republicans view him as an opportunist who has shamelessly recast himself as a MAGA warrior to revive his political career.
Former Greitens aides and donors said in interviews that Greitens was actually reluctant to embrace former President Donald Trump prior to the 2016 election, and even suggested privately he should disavow the Republican presidential nominee after a video surfaced that October of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women. Greitens’ critics often note that he was a prospective Democratic congressional candidate before changing parties in 2015 and then running for governor as a Republican.
Greitens isn’t alone in his pursuit of Trump’s endorsement-- the Republican Senate primary field is stocked with Trump supporters, several of whom have made pilgrimages to Mar-a-Lago in recent months. But Greitens has surpassed them all in his attempts to curry favor with the former president. While his primary rivals have also embraced Trump’s disproven claims of a stolen election, Greitens is the only one who has repeatedly campaigned in Arizona, where he promoted the Republican-led “audit” of ballots in an attempt to decertify President Joe Biden’s victory in the state.
Neo-Nazi Illinois billionaire Richard Uihlein is financing Greitens and has pledged $2.5 million to a Greitens super-PAC. Greitens is not one of the top fundraisers other than Uihlein's money. Uihein, who also finances Club For Growth, is known for betting big--through shay super-PACs-- on extremist candidates who disappear without a trace, often in primaries. These are 4 among dozens. He has spent in the vicinity of $100,000,000 trying, usually unsuccessfully, to elect American Nazis.
Kevin Nicholson (R-WI)- over $30,000,000
Darryl Glenn (R-CO)- over $4,400,000
Jeanne Ives (R-IL)- $3,000,000
Bruce Rauner (R-IL)- $2,500,000
And Missouri isn't the only state where whackadoodle extremists are running as viable Republican candidates. Tracey Tully wrote about one yesterday, Edward Durfee, a member of the Oath Keepers domestic terrorist group and a participant in the 1/6 insurrection. He's the Republican Party candidate for a Bergen County, New Jersey Assembly seat-- district 37-- next week. He's going to lose but his campaign is legitimizing-- at least for Republicans-- violent insurrection. There are 22,679 registered Republicans in the district-- but 78,174 Democrats and 54,897 independents. There are dozens of Oath Keeps already in office or running for office.
Roy Sokoloski, a Republican, was involved with recruiting candidates to run for office when he was a councilman in Northvale, a 5,000-person town on the northern border with New York State. He and Mr. Durfee worship at the same Roman Catholic church.
“If you don’t know his political background, he’s a nice fellow,” said Mr. Sokoloski, an architect.
But he believes Mr. Durfee’s candidacy is an ominous sign for a once-formidable party struggling to remain relevant in a state with nearly 1.1 million more registered Democrats than Republicans.
“He’s the worst candidate that the Republicans could have endorsed,” said Mr. Sokoloski, who said he voted against Mr. Trump twice and spoke wistfully of a time when G.O.P. leaders focused on issues like high taxes, not overturning elections.
“If the Republican Party can only find people like that,” he said, “what does that say about the party?”
...He has not gotten support from the state Republican Party, and Mr. Ciattarelli has tried to distance himself from Mr. Durfee. “Anyone who advocates terrorism, or had anything to do with the insurrection, has no place in our party,” said Chris Russell, a strategist for the Ciattarelli campaign.
Durfee said he preferred to keep his savings in precious metals based on a worry that paper “fiat money” will eventually be devalued.
“I have dollars for my wife-- we all have to live,” he said. “But I save in silver and gold.”
Reporting for Vice yesterday, David Gilbert pointed out that "A coalition of right-wing MAGA candidates, including multiple Trump-backed candidates, are seeking to take control of elections in states across the U.S.-- and one says they’re formally working with a group of conspiracy theorists, as well as with a QAnon influencer who some in the conspiracy movement believe is John F. Kennedy Jr. in disguise. The group consists of five GOP candidates running for the key election position of secretary of state in Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, Georgia, and California, as well as one Pennsylvania lawmaker who may run for governor, which in Pennsylvania appoints the secretary of state. According to one of the candidates, it also has support from wealthy conspiracy theorists Mike Lindell and Patrick Byrne. The reported coalition is just the latest example of how extreme QAnon-inspired conspiracy theories about election fraud and vote-rigging have become pervasive in the Republican Party, and how those conspiracies are now driving this group to seek to take control of key election positions across the country ahead of the 2024 election."