JEFFERSON CITY – While the three longtime Republican candidates for governor were taping a debate in St. Louis Friday morning, Eric Greitens was holding a press conference in front of the Missouri Democratic party headquarters attacking the party. The Democratic party responded by welcoming the former Democrat back.
Democrats held signs outside of their headquarters welcoming Greitens back to the Missouri Democratic Party headquarters, asking if he attended the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and one was even a mock-up of Greitens Democratic ID card.
They chanted “Better Together” and expressed their excitement with the possibility of having two “Democrats” in the general election. There was even one member in a rhinoceros costume, playing on the Republican In Name Only (RINO) insult used against members of the GOP who are not perceived as true conservatives.
Greitens has had to fight back claims the entire election regarding his past as a Democrat, and the press conference was planned to address those concerns, along with the fact that a group funded by the national Democratic Governor’s Association (DGA) will begin airing ads Friday questioning his relationship with Silicon Valley hedge fund manager Michael Goguen. A woman has alleged Goguen sexually and physically abused her while she was trafficked for sex.
Greitens however was resilient.
“They are scared of the conservative movement we have created here in Missouri, and they should be,” Greitens said. “The only chance that they have to win in November is to try to interfere with the Republican primary.”
The Democrats chanted things like “one of us” in response. One Democrat questioned why Greitens had been acting like a conservative while mocking the candidate for attending then-Sen. Barack Obama’s 2008 acceptance speech to become the presidential nominee.
Missouri Democrats are not the only people questioning Greitens’ claims to conservatism. Greitens has also recently faced criticism from the John Brunner campaign for visiting the White House as recently as 2014, though he has visited multiple times since Obama took office.
For Greitens supporters, who also came to the event, the most recent attacks against Greitens are a form of sabotage. Former state treasurer Sarah Steelman, one of Greitens’ highest profile political supporters, spoke about her failed Senate bid against former Congressman Todd Akin. U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, wrote in her memoir “Plenty Ladylike” that her team ran ads calling Akin the most conservative person in the race, which may have provided Akin with the push he needed to beat Steelman and Brunner, who also ran in that race.
“She proudly boasted about how she manipulated the voters of this state, now [Democratic candidate] Chris Koster and Obama are at it again,” Steelman said. “This time they are running lies against Eric Greitens… They have insulted the voters of this state. This is why people are sick of dirty politicians and their lies.”
Greitens also said that influences from outside the state were trying to endanger him, despite the fact that he has taken more money from sources outside the state than any other Republican candidate by far.
“We’re here today in front of the Democrat headquarters to see the fear,” Greitens said. “Together, we are putting Missouri Republicans on high alert because Washington democrats and the Obama political machine are trying to steal the election here in Missouri.”