THE GOP PRIMARY for the Senate in Missouri, a key election in the August 2nd primaries, already has an official winner: Eric Schmitt, the state’s attorney general, who has great chances of joining the U.S. Senate next year.
Schmitt beat out twenty Republican challengers who threatened his candidacy, including U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler and controversial former MO Gov. Eric Greitens, who fell behind in third place.
According to Politico, with more than 98% of the votes counted, Eric Schmitt won the GOP primary with 298,852 votes (45.7% of the total). Vicky Hartzler came in second with 144,469 votes (22.1%). Eric Greitens got 123,982 votes for a total of (18.9%).
Schmitt, who has already begun to be congratulated by prominent conservatives, will face Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine, who defeated Lucas Kunce by obtaining 158,583 votes (43.2%). Kunce fell short in his aspirations, reaching the threshold of 140,953 votes (38.4%).
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Early years and education
Born 47 years ago in Bridgeton, a suburb of St. Louis, Schmitt graduated from high school in 1993. He then attended Truman State University, graduating in 1997 with a degree in Political Science. During his time there, he did not shy away from sports and played both football and baseball.
Schmitt is currently married to Jaime Forrester, with whom he had three children, Sophia, Olivia, and Stephen. The latter was born with a rare genetic condition that caused tumors in his organs. In addition, he has epilepsy, is on the autism spectrum, and is non-verbal. According to Schmitt, his son was one of the reasons he went into politics, to give a voice to people like him and their families.
Resuming his education, Schmitt received a scholarship to study law at Saint Louis University, earning his Juris Doctor in 2000. Ready for the professional world, he began his career at the firm Lathrop & Gage, and then jumped into public life.
State senate: tax cuts and autism
In 2005, Schmitt was tempted by politics and was elected as a Glendale councilman, a position he held until 2008, when he moved up a step. In fact, he became the State Senator for the 15th district and since then his profile has not gone unnoticed in the state.
Schmitt served in Missouri’s upper house for 8 years, during which time he sponsored a range of bills. In fact, one of his first initiatives was named “autism insurance,” which required health insurance companies to pay up to $40,000 a year for applied behavioral analysis. It is a form of autism therapy that has a successful track record, but can also cost tens of thousands of dollars.
“I’ve been fortunate to be able to pay out of pocket for a lot of the things that Stephen needs, but there’s a lot of families that just aren’t in that position. We know that early intervention is critical; half the kids that receive this therapy early on don’t need a shadow in a public school setting,” Schmitt said at the time.
In addition, Schmitt is a staunch defender of low taxes. He demonstrated this by sponsoring the Franchise Tax Cut, one of the largest in the state’s history. In this regard, he claims that his idol is former politician and soccer player Jack Kemp.
“Kemp was a person who inspired me to take that conservative message outside of the Republican echo chamber and attempt to convince people why lower taxes benefit them and their families. This is not about ‘one percenters,’ I didn’t grow up in that world,” the now-candidate said in 2013.
“I believe as Jack Kemp did that cutting taxes will expand the economy. It worked with Kennedy and Reagan. The problem has been there haven’t been the spending reductions to avoid deficits,” he added about his fiscal philosophy.
Treasurer and Attorney General
With his term served in the state Senate, Schmitt moved back up and this time was elected state treasurer in 2016. During his tenure, he was noted for pushing the MO ABLE program, the design of which creates tax-advantaged savings accounts for disability and special needs-related expenses.
“As the parents of a twelve-year-old who faces the challenges of several profound disabilities, my wife Jaime and I know just how important it is that we offer the best ABLE program possible for Missouri families,” Schmitt said in March 2017.
After Josh Hawley was elected to the Senate in 2018, Gov. Mike Parson appointed him as state attorney general. Two years later, voters ratified him to the post.
Tenure as MO Attorney General
— During his tenure, Schmitt made Missouri the first state to officially sue China over the Covid-19 pandemic.
— Joined 21 other attorneys general in a court action against Joe Biden over the revocation of the Keystone XL pipeline permit.
— Initiated an antitrust investigation against Google.
— In conjunction with the legislature, Schmitt sought to increase the number of police officers in the state.
— Co-signed, along with 14 other attorneys general, an amicus brief arguing that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect LGBTQ+ people from employment discrimination.
— Sued school districts that implemented mandatory masks for children.
Missouri senate campaign
Schmitt announced his candidacy on March 24 of this year and, while he started out trailing former Governor Eric Greitens, he headed to the primary leading the polls. His most important national endorsement came from U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, who said, “I’m supporting Eric Schmitt because he has been standing up and fighting for the men and women of Missouri over and over and over.” He also drew praise from Sarah Huckabee Sanders and U.S. Senator Mike Lee.
President Trump issued a dual endorsement of “ERIC” via Truth Social, not specifying which Eric he was endorsing. Both Erics accepted the endorsement, but ultimately Schmitt won the primary.
Update: 8/3/2022 – 12:52 pm ET: An earlier version of this article focused on the GOP primary prior to election day. It has been updated to reflect the results of the primary held on August 3.