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Greitens jumps into 2022 Senate race

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — It’s official: Former Gov. Eric Greitens is attempting a political comeback by jumping into the 2022 U.S. Senate race to replace outgoing Senator Roy Blunt. 

The disgraced former governor has been hosting a television show on “Real America’s Voice” network since last year. He served as Missouri’s chief executive until he stepped down in 2018 amid multiple investigations into sexual misconduct and campaign finance allegations. 

“I have been so encouraged by the people of Missouri that I’m happy to announce tonight that I’m running for the U.S. Senate to continue serving the people of Missouri,” Greitens, 46, told Fox News’ Bret Baier Monday evening, touting his background as a Navy Seal. “I was honored to serve the people of Missouri as their governor. We took on the establishment, we killed a politicians’ pay raise, we ended a corrupt tax credit program.” 

“The people of Missouri need a fighter in the U.S. Senate,” he continued. “They need somebody who is going to go — as I will, as I am committed to do — to defending President Trump’s ‘American First’ policies and also to protecting the people of Missouri from Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer’s radical leftist agenda.” 

Attorney General Eric Schmitt is also expected to make a play for the seat along with U.S. Representatives Billy Long, Jason Smith, and Ann Wagner. Former state Sen. Scott Sifton and Marine Lucas Kunce are Democratic candidates. 

The Missouri Ethics Commission initially levied a more than $178,000 fine against Greitens last year after finding two campaign finance reporting violations but agreed to a $38,000 settlement. The two violations were failure to report in-kind contributions by the Greitens for Missouri committee. One stemmed from the LG PAC’s media buy; the other pertained to polling data paid for by A New Missouri. 

Despite the reporting violations, Greitens and his legal team insisted the former governor had been “exonerated.” He repeated that belief on Fox News Monday. 

Additionally, a September 2019 report from Auditor Nicole Galloway found Greitens engaged in the same questionable practices of his predecessor, which he had disavowed on the campaign trail, and left taxpayers on the hook for more than $200,000 in legal bills related to the use of an encrypted text messaging service

Greitens is a native of St. Louis and was a registered Democrat before switching parties to run for governor in 2015. After beating three other Republicans in the primary election, he defeated Chris Koster in the general. But he was Missouri’s governor for less than two years before he resigned while facing a possible impeachment. 

Monday was a day for campaign announcements. Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, who had been considering the Senate seat, announced he would forgo a national race and instead focus on a gubernatorial run in 2024.