Three GOP front-runners in Missouri Senate race vow to oppose McConnell as Majority Leader

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Three GOP front-runners competing in Missouri’s primary Senate race have all vowed that they will not support Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as Senate majority leader if the Republicans take back the chamber in November.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., and former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens all spoke out against Minority Leader McConnell in three separate statements this week.

Schmitt was the first this week to blast the minority leader while speaking at a campaign event in Columbia, Missouri, Wednesday. “I think we need new leadership in the Senate,” Schmitt told a reporter. 

“Mitch McConnell was elected to the Senate in 1985. I think the party’s priorities changed pretty dramatically. And I don’t think he’s kept up with that. I think that most recently, evidenced by the disastrous infrastructure bill, I was vocal about not supporting this gun confiscation law, the red flag law. I don’t support that,” he said.

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Schmitt continued: “I’ve been endorsed by Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Mike Lee. I’d love to see one of them run. I would support that. Mitch McConnell hasn’t endorsed me and I don’t endorse him for leadership in the Senate.”

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is a Republican primary candidate running for Senate in Missouri.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is a Republican primary candidate running for Senate in Missouri. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Schmitt also took the time in his speech to bash his primary opponents, saying “Vicky Hartzler is weak, and Eric Greitens is a quitter.”

Hartzler was next to criticize at McConnell in a press release Thursday. “I’m not going to support Mitch McConnell for Majority Leader. We need a true conservative leader who will stand up to Joe Biden and turn things around. We need someone with backbone to fight against this train wreck,” Hartzler said.

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Like Schmitt, Hartzler brought up the gun control legislation recently signed into law. “The gun legislation supported by Senate leadership had a red flag provision and I do not support that. Kowtowing to Chuck Schumer is unacceptable. I’ve been watching Mitch McConnell, and he just continues to acquiesce to Senate democrats. We need courageous conservative leadership. It’s time to fight back.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Eric Greitens’ campaign told Fox News Digital Thursday that the former governor was the first candidate in the country to commit to voting against Mitch McConnell.

In an exclusive statement, the Greitens Campaign said: “The only reason they [Schmitt and Hartzler] have decided to join Governor Greitens in calling for new Senate leadership — which he did back in 2021 — is because they are desperate. They know Governor Greitens is the only America First candidate in the race and has all the momentum going into Election Day.”

McConnell’s office did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment. 

Former Gov. Eric Greitens delivers the keynote address at the St. Louis Area Police Chiefs Association 27th Annual Police Officer Memorial Prayer Breakfast

Former Gov. Eric Greitens delivers the keynote address at the St. Louis Area Police Chiefs Association 27th Annual Police Officer Memorial Prayer Breakfast (Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

In a statement last fall, McConnell referred to former President Donald Trump’s insistence that the 2020 presidential election results were inaccurate, saying that he hoped “the ’22 election will be a referendum on the performance of the current administration, not a rehash of suggestions about what may have happened in 2020.

A recent Emerson College/The Hill poll revealed that Schmitt currently holds a 12-point lead over his opponents in the heated Missouri Senate primary race, though the college’s poll found Greitens leading in June.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is the current Senate majority leader, but that would change if Republicans recapture the upper chamber this November.

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Schmitt, Greitens, and Hartzler are set to face off in a heated primary for the Missouri Senate seat on Aug. 2.