Eric Greitens, who resigned as Missouri governor three years ago amidst multiple scandals, announced today on Fox News that he will seek to mount a political comeback by running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated in 2022 by Senator Roy Blunt.
Greitens made the announcement on host Bret Baier's evening show. Here's how it was reported by the Kansas City Star:
"After weeks of speculation, Greitens confirmed on Fox News that he would pursue retiring Republican Sen. Roy Blunt's seat in 2022. He launched a campaign website in coordination with his Fox appearance.
"The people of Missouri need a fighter in the United States Senate," Greitens said.
"He rattled off a list of accomplishments from his short tenure as governor, but he glossed over the scandals that caused him to resign midway through his second year in office."
"Greitens, a Republican former Navy SEAL, stepped down from office in 2018 in face of his likely impeachment by the GOP-led Missouri House.
"He faced allegations that he photographed a woman nude without her consent in 2015 in an effort to keep from speaking about an extramarital affair. An investigation by the Missouri House uncovered additional allegations of sexual and physical abuse against the woman, who was Greitens' hairdresser.
"Greitens, who announced a divorce last year, has admitted to the affair, but has repeatedly denied claims of blackmail and violent sexual abuse. Greitens was charged with felony invasion of privacy in St. Louis, but the case was dropped a day before trial.
"Facing an unrelated felony charge of computer tampering related to an investigation of the charity he founded, Greitens negotiated a deal with St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner to drop the case in exchange for leaving the governor's office."
There had been speculation in Missouri for months that Greitens might challenge Blunt because of the senator's lukewarm support for Donald Trump. Blunt had refrained from criticizing Trump publicly, but he did vote to uphold the election of President Joe Biden and was master of ceremonies at Biden's Inaugural. Blunt announced March 8 he wouldn't seek a third term in the Senate in 2022.
Greitens, who was divorced from his wife Sheena after leaving office, had seen his political career begin to unwind in January 2018, when a St. Louis TV show aired a bombshell audiotape disclosing an affair he had with his hairdresser. The tape had been provided to the station by the woman's husband, who had secretly recorded her tearful confession to an affair with Greitens, complete with lurid details.
Greitens received widespread condemnation and resignation calls across party lines in the state legislature, and other elected officials. But just as problematic was a probe into alleged political misuse of his veterans' charity -- the Mission Continues -- and his resignation came hours after a judge ruled that the secretive nonprofit must immediately turn over its documents to the legislature.
As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported today, "Greitens' entry into the race to fill the seat held by retiring U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, promises to generate discord within the state GOP, with Republicans who moved to oust Greitens in 2018 now forced to either back the ex-governor or line up behind an alternative."