It was thought that Schmitt might secure Donald Trump’s prized endorsement, but the former president instead made the unusual choice Monday of announcing he was endorsing “ERIC” — without specifying a last name. Both Schmitt and Greitens, who had the support of Donald Trump Jr. and his fiancée Kimberly Guilfoyle jumped at the opportunity to claim Trump’s endorsement was intended for them.
There were 21 candidates in total vying for the Republican nomination. In the final days of the race, Hartzler and Schmitt zeroed in on each other, with Hartzler using her background as a rural farmer to attack her leading opponent as a lawyer from St. Louis. Schmitt used her speeches in the final days to cast Hartzler as a Washington insider.
All three leading contenders in the final leg of the race made sure to distance themselves from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Hartzler, Schmitt and Greitens each said they wouldn’t support McConnell as Senate leader if Republicans take back Congress, a nod to Trump’s attacks and calls for new leadership.
Democrats also had a crowded field this year of 11 candidates, but now that Schmitt locked up the nomination, the race isn’t expected to be all that competitive in the deeply red state come November. Schmitt will face off with one of two Democrats: Lucas Kunce, a veteran, or Trudy Busch Valentine, a former nurse and member of the Busch brewing family. Independent John Wood, who is backed by a super PAC financed by former GOP Sen. John Danforth also turned in petition signatures to make the fall ballot.