In Missouri Senate Race With Two Erics, Trump Endorses Eric

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By Moira Warburton and Alexandra Ulmer

(Reuters) -Former President Donald Trump had promised to weigh in on the Republican nomination for the Missouri Senate race, hotly contested between Eric Greitens, former state governor, and Eric Schmitt, the State Attorney General.

On Monday, the eve of the primary, Trump stunned political watchers by issuing a highly unusual statement simply endorsing “Eric,” suggesting he was hedging his bets between the two candidates.

Asked for clarification on whom Trump was endorsing, spokesperson Taylor Budowich said the statement “speaks for itself.”

A Missouri Republican political operative told Reuters it was “clearly a dual endorsement.”

Both Greitens and Schmitt, however, claimed Trump’s endorsement in Tweets sent just minutes apart.

“I’m honored to receive President Trump’s endorsement,” Greitens said first, adding criticism of his rival: “President Trump said it best when he characterized Schmitt’s campaign as ‘great dishonesty in politics.'”

Trump, who has become a kingmaker in the Republican Party during primaries for the November midterm elections, has endorsed some 200 candidates in 2022, with mixed results in states including Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

But Trump, who is weighing another White House run in 2024, regularly claims his endorsements are hugely successful, raising the questions of whether he was trying to protect his record through the dual endorsement in the closely fought race.

“Trump’s really worried about taking a loss on this one,” the Republican Accountability Project, a conservative anti-Trump group, said on Twitter.

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Washington and Alexandra Ulmer in San Francisco; Editing by Bradley Perrett)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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