ST. LOUIS – Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens is unhappy the St. Louis Police Officer’s Association (SLPOA) revoked their endorsement of him last week, he said in a blog post Wednesday.
The group, which is part of the statewide Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), rescinded their endorsement, calling it “null and void” after discovering they could not endorse a candidate for a primary election if they had already nominated a candidate for a general election.
“The men and women of the St. Louis Police Association aren’t tucked away in offices,” Greitens writes. “They see firsthand the escalating crime in our streets. They understand on a personal level that career politicians like Chris Koster have failed them and left them, their families, and our neighborhoods exposed.”
The SLPOA had previously endorsed Democratic candidate Attorney General Chris Koster for the general election campaign.
“When thousands of local police officers go to vote on August 2nd and November 8th, Missouri will hear their voice loud and clear,” Greitens continued. “The union can silence an official endorsement but they can’t and won’t silence their vote.”
SLPOA Executive Director Jeff Roorda said that the decision to vote on an endorsement for a Republican candidate was done informally and without regard to FOP rules. He went on to say that Greitens was informed of that in a cease and desist letter sent to the Greitens campaign July 22.
Roorda also explained what happened on the #Moleg Podcast, which you can listen to below.
“I think it was just an honest misunderstanding about what a local FOP lodge could do with regards to statewide endorsements,” Roorda said.
Even though the SLPOA admits that they made the initial mistake, that cease and desist letter still carries legal weight.
“If he continues to imply or insinuate that he is endorsed by either the Fraternal Order of Police or the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association, they can and will take legal action,” Roorda said.
The Greitens campaign has since removed the news of the SLPOA’s endorsement from their website, indicating that they look to be complying with the letter, even if they aren’t happy about it.
“We find it shameful and inexcusable that any organization that claims to represent the fine men and women who go out day after day and risk their lives to ensure that our families are safe is instead spending time and resources to silence the voices of those officers,” said Greitens campaign manager Austin Chambers in a letter to FOP counsel James Towey. “The Missouri Fraternal Order of Police is the very organization that is supposed to be standing up and protecting those who protect us… Instead, the might of the organization has been used to bully and intimidate local police officers into ignoring what they see happening around them and falling in line with what the bureaucrats and career politicians tell them is best.”