A super PAC aimed that's been attacking former GOP Gov. Eric Greitens is outspending other groups and candidates ahead of next week's Senate primary in Missouri, and it appears to be driving down Greitens' standing in the race.
Recent polling has shown Greitens falling behind state Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Rep. Vicky Hartzler in the primary, amid an onslaught of ads from the anti-Greitens group known as the Show Me Values PAC. The group has spent $6.2 million on ads per AdImpact, an ad tracking firm.
”Show Me Values' advertisement has been a game-changer for the Senate race, as it is the first time there’s been a sustained, paid voter contact effort exposing Eric Greitens for the person he is,” said Missouri Republican strategist James Harris, who has previously worked with Schmitt and Rep. Billy Long, another Senate candidate, but is not currently involved in the race.
Greitens left office in 2018 amid multiple scandals, but the group's TV ads have focused largely on recent allegations of domestic abuse from Greitens' ex-wife, which Greitens denies. The allegations came to light as part of the couple's custody battle.
A recent ad from the group featured a woman reading from Greitens' ex-wife's affidavit, where she said she "became afraid for my safety and that of our children due to Eric's unstable and coercive behavior, physical violence towards our children."
Since the group hit the airwaves, Greitens has dropped in recent polling. A Remington Research Group survey released Monday showed Greitens in third place in the crowded primary.
Greitens' campaign did not respond to requests for comment, but campaign manager Dylan Johnson told Politico, “Fake poll numbers peddled by grifters are an albatross in the political world and Governor Greitens will become the next U.S. senator from Missouri."
The former governor has had some help on the airwaves from Team PAC, a super PAC funded by GOP megadonor Richard Uihlein. But the group currently isn't airing any TV ads, per AdImpact, and it had just $64,000 on hand as of June 30, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
The GOP primary could still be upended if former President Donald Trump decides to make a last-minute endorsement in the race. Trump wrote in a Truth Social post earlier this month he would not endorse Hartzler. He also praised Greitens as "tough and smart" while acknowledging Democrats would rather face Greitens in November, per the Missouri Independent.
"I think the president’s endorsement is still the most important thing in Republican primaries,” said Missouri GOP strategist Gregg Keller, who is serving as a senior adviser to the pro-Schmitt super PAC Save Missouri Values.
"Can it save someone who’s gone down 25 points over the last six months, whose campaign is broke and who finds himself in third place? I'll just say that if I were the president or the president's people, I wouldn't want to try and find out," Keller later added.