Missouri AG Schmitt touts 'fights' alongside Trump in Senate GOP race to replace Blunt

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Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt plans to occupy what is likely to be a crowded pro-Trump lane in the Republican primary for the state's open U.S. Senate seat – and he's already emphasizing his fights "alongside" the former president early in the race.

"I've spent my time as attorney general fighting alongside President Trump and defending the America first agenda," Schmitt, who jumped in the race to replace retiring Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., last month, told Fox News.

"If the pro-Trump Republicans are looking for a candidate I certainly would be the one because I've been in those fights," he added. "That's been my record."

Schmitt during his time as Missouri's attorney general has gained notoriety for several high-profile legal actions he's taken.

In this Aug. 6, 2020 file photo, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt speaks during a news conference in St. Louis. Schmitt announced Wednesday, March 24, 2021, that he's making a bid for retiring U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt's seat. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File) ((AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File))

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These include suing China over the coronavirus pandemic; filing a brief in support of the gun-toting suburbanites Mark and Patricia McCloskey after their confrontation with protesters last year; challenging President Biden's regulatory authority; and leading 17 states in a brief supporting the ill-fated Texas case at the Supreme Court that sought to essentially invalidate the presidential elections in four states.

A bevy Missouri Republicans has either been speculated about or expressed interested in running for Blunt's seat. But Schmitt's most high-profile contender is likely to be former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens – who is also trying to appeal to Trump's base.

"I'm the MAGA candidate in this race. I'm the front-runner who has the support of so many folks like Rudy Giuliani, like Seb Gorka, like Ryan Zinke, like Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova," Greitens said in an interview with Fox News. "I've been there through the fights and I'm a fighter and I'm going to fight for the people of Missouri in the U.S. Senate."

Greitens resigned as Missouri's governor in 2018 amid allegations of campaign finance violations and sexual assault.

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Greitens admitted to an extramarital affair but denied the other allegations. Since his resignation, the assault charges were dropped largely owing to alleged misconduct by an investigator. And the campaign finance violations were settled with an ethics panel finding "no evidence" Greitens knew of the issues, despite his fundamental responsibility over the matter.

But many Republicans worry Greitens' baggage could be used against him by Democrats in a general election and put the Missouri Senate seat at risk for Republicans. Schmitt apparently alluded to this in a statement when he announced his campaign, saying "we also need a leader who can hold this Senate seat in firm Republican hands without giving Democrats any chance to take this seat back."

Tyler Olson Fox News