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Schmitt nabs endorsement from former acting US attorney general

Attorney General Eric Schmitt received support for his U.S. Senate bid from former Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker Monday. 

Whitaker, who briefly served in the role from late 2018 to early 2019 under the Trump administration, praised Schmitt’s support for law enforcement and “the rule of law” in his endorsement message. 

“As a top law enforcement official in the Trump administration, I saw firsthand his commitment to keeping Missourians safe by taking action to fight violent crime, backing our police with resources and support, and establishing unprecedented cooperation between law enforcement agencies to protect and serve our communities,” Whitaker said. “Eric Schmitt has my full support in his campaign for U.S. Senate, and I encourage Missourians to send him there to represent law and order and conservative values.” 

In the GOP primary for the open U.S. Senate seat in Missouri, contenders are seeking to align themselves with former President Donald Trump and rack up endorsements from his allies. This is the first major Trumpworld endorsement for Schmitt in the Senate race. 

As Missouri’s attorney general, Schmitt has cast himself as a foil to the Biden administration on a bevy of issues, from challenging environmental rules to immigration policies, including, most recently, attempting to get the federal government to construct the border wall

Former Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker

Whitaker is a former U.S. attorney in Iowa who served as Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff when the former Alabama senator was the U.S. attorney general. He was appointed to serve as the acting U.S. attorney general — where he oversaw special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation — when Sessions resigned the post. He was acting director until William Barr was confirmed to the position in February 2019. 

Whitaker is a former managing director at Axiom Strategies which is working with Schmitt’s campaign. He is now of counsel at Graves Garrett LLC

Schmitt is facing former Gov. Eric Greitens, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, Congressman Billy Long, and attorney Mark McCloskey for the Republican nomination to replace outgoing Senator Roy Blunt

Schmitt led the GOP field in fundraising numbers in the third quarter, raking in nearly $652,000 and ending the reporting period with more than $1 million cash on hand. 

Kaitlyn Schallhorn contributed to this story.