Missouri: Republican nomination for US Senate race a toss-up

Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 3:31 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - We are three weeks from the August primary election and there is no lock on who will be the Republican nominee.

It’s a crowded field. There are 21 Republicans vying for the job. The three top candidates are Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, former governor Eric Greitens who resigned in disgrace, and current Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt.

Who leads in polling depends on the poll and when it was done. However, there’s little doubt that many Missouri voters are still undecided and it’s certain this race will go down to the wire.

Well, you’ve got the three people at the top,” said Pete Mundo, program director for KCMO Talk Radio and host of Mundo in the Morning. “Most polls are within four to five points of each other, with 16% undecided. That is a huge number of undecided voters with three weeks left. What sways them? What makes them tick? Is it a Trump endorsement? Is it something else? I don’t know.”

“This thing is going to be decided by a point or two points in some direction,” Mundo said. “It only is going to take a few thousand votes to sway this thing towards whoever the nominee is going to be.”

If you’re curious why some of the lower-polling candidates haven’t thrown support to one of the top three candidates, Mundo offers this explanation.

“We’re past that point. That pressure was months ago, and there was pressure on them a little bit, but it wasn’t enough and it wasn’t from the right places,” said Mundo. “They’ve spent, now, money on advertising TV, some radio, they hire big time consultants. So, people are making money and with three weeks left. There’s no way that any of these people drop out, if nothing else, because of ego.”

Former President Donald Trump recently posted that he will not endorse Vicky Hartzler, after she reportedly asked him for his endorsement. So far, Trump hasn’t endorsed any candidate. Hartzler does have the endorsement of Josh Hawley. Mundo said that Hawley is the most popular Republican among Republicans in the state of Missouri.

A KCTV5 poll earlier this year showed Greitens was the weakest candidate against a Democrat in November. A political action committee has been running anti-Greitens ads on television. But, are those ads actually hurting Greitens?

“Some people believe that those are actually helping Eric in a strange, roundabout way,” said Mundo. “[Voters] may be looking for that super anti-establishment, anti-party person that may appeal to enough people where they say, ‘You know what? He’s my guy.’”

Another factor that could further divide the Republican party: John Wood. He’s a former federal prosecutor and identifies as a mainstream Republican. He has entered the general election running as an Independent.