ST. LOUIS − Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt won the Republican primary for the state’s U.S. Senate seat Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. Schmitt will face Trudy Busch Valentine in the general election this November.
Schmitt beat former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler in a closely-watched race that included 21 Republican candidates.
Schmitt has 293,208 votes with 99% of precincts reporting as of 11 p.m.
“I’ve always been a fighter, and as your attorney general I have fought in court to protect our liberties,” Schmitt said during his watch party in St. Louis, as the crowd cheered "Eric! Eric! Eric!"
“And as your Senator, I’ll take a blowtorch to the Senate," he continued.
Schmitt says he "believes in the promise of America."
"And the sons and daughters of working families can be whatever they wanna be if they work hard and pursue their dreams. But our country and our culture are under assault," he said.
Former President Donald Trump called Schmitt to congratulate him, according a spokesperson for Schmitt.
A spokesperson for @Eric_Schmitt just announced that @RepHartzler has conceded the race and that former President Donald Trump just called Schmitt to congratulate him #MoSen @KOMUnews pic.twitter.com/TS03Ugtm8X— Dmitry Martirosov (@dmrtrsv) August 3, 2022
Hartzler has conceded the race. At her watch party in Garden City, Hartzler thanked her supporters and named checked several politicians who supported her. She also expressed her disappointment.
"We fought hard, left no stone unturned, but unfortunately, the outcome wasn't what we hoped for," Hartzler said. "I just got off the phone with Eric Schmitt and congratulated him on his victory, and pledged my support so we can keep Missouri in Republican hands in defeating Trudy Busch Valentine in November."
Greitens also conceded and spoke at his watch party, saying he was proud of his supporters.
"God has a plan. It doesn't always work on our timeline," Greitens said.
Schmitt won the nomination despite the lackluster endorsement by Trump, who on Monday issued an unusual statement on his social media platform, TruthSocial, appearing to be endorsing both Schmitt and Greitens.
“[A]nd I am therefore proud to announce that ERIC has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” Trump said in the statement.
Schmitt, 47, was named attorney general of Missouri by Gov. Mike Parson in November 2018 and is now running to take the open Senate seat left by retiring Republican Sen. Roy Blunt after the veteran lawmaker announced in March of last year that he would not seek re-election.
In spite of Trump’s dubious endorsement, Schmitt did win the backing of a few high-profile politicos, including endorsements from Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah, in addition to former acting U.S. Attorney General Matt Whitaker who served in President Trump's administration. Schmitt also won the endorsement of Arkansas gubernatorial nominee Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Before taking office as attorney general, Schmitt served as the 46th state treasurer of Missouri from 2017 to 2019, and prior to that as a member of the Missouri Senate, representing Missouri's 15th State Senate district from 2009 to 2017.
Schmitt’s campaign was marked by a slew of lawsuits filed by his office, ranging from the Biden administration’s alleged government overreach, to the Chinese government’s purported mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most prominent, however, are Schmitt’s lawsuits over COVID-19 mask mandates in Missouri school districts, particularly against Columbia Public Schools which was sued twice by Schmitt.
Many more lawsuits were filed by the Attorney General’s Office over the past two years, with most aimed at President Biden and his administration. Part of Schmitt’s agenda, according to a recent video posted on his Twitter account, is to take a blowtorch to Biden’s “socialist agenda.”
With Tuesday’s win, Schmitt gets one step closer to “turn the heat up on the Biden Democrats.”
Voters will head to the polls once again on Nov. 8 to elect the newest member of the U.S. Senate.
Tuesday's full election results can be found here.