Update: According to final, unofficial results, Schmitt bested the field with 45.6 percent of the vote. Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler finished second, claiming 22 percent, while former Gov. Eric Greitens won 18.9 percent.
Original story follows....
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has bested a crowded field, including former Gov. Eric Greitens, to win the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, according to preliminary, unofficial results from the Missouri Secretary of State.
The AP called the race moments ago, reflecting Schmitt's huge lead at this point of the evening. With 898 to 3,592 precincts reporting, Schmitt won 41 percent of the vote, to just 20.8 percent for Greitens. Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler narrowly topped Greitens, with 24.5 percent of the unofficial, early tally.
Schmitt's apparent victory surely has GOP leaders breathing a huge sigh of relief. Party elders were worried that a Greitens victory could send a safe Republican seat into the hands of Democrats — and vowed to spend big to stop him.
And then yesterday, former President Donald Trump set off confusion by endorsing, simply, "ERIC," without specifying whether he meant Schmitt or Greitens. (Apparently, based on phone calls he made to the two men, the answer was "both.")
The bizarre move likely didn't do much beyond setting off guffaws; polls already showed Schmitt in the lead, and if these preliminary results are any clue, Greitens apparently didn't get much of a bump.
Also falling short: the candidate endorsed by U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Congresswoman Hartzler, as well as Hartzler's D.C. colleague, U.S. Rep. Billy Long (R-Springfield).
Last night, Long was quick to congratulate Schmitt:
Also a loser? Mark McCloskey, who gained infamy after brandishing guns at protesters marching past his St. Louis mansion. The litigious lawyer was unable to convert his five minutes of fame into more than a few votes.
I just called @Eric_Schmitt and congratulated him on a big #MOSen victory tonight and offered my full endorsement and cooperation going forward. Anything I can do to help I will and he and his great team know that. On the November! 🇺🇸— Billy Long (@auctnr1) August 3, 2022
As for Hawley, the soon-to-be-senior Senator swiftly congratulated his junior: