This is one in a series of stories looking at candidates for Missouri's open Senate seat.
COLUMBIA, Mo (KMIZ)
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is enjoying a lead in several polls with less than one week left before the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.
Among those polls is one by Emerson College and The Hill, which shows Schmitt with a 12-point lead and approximately 33% of the vote in the crowded Republican primary field. He also leads in two other polls released this week that show him surging ahead of other leading candidates U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler and former governor Eric Greitens.
Schmitt said "I feel good, I mean, we've felt the momentum on the ground as we've done these events, and gone all over Missouri and talked to voters, but now it's, it's obviously being reflected in the polling and that's very gratifying."
Schmitt has been Missouri's attorney general since 2019. Before that, he was a member of the Missouri Senate, representing District 15 starting in 2008, but did not seek re-election in 2016 because of term limits. In 2016 he ran for treasurer of Missouri and held that position from 2017 to 2019 before becoming Missouri's attorney general.
Schmitt is running as a fighter against COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates, legal abortion and on other issues close to conservatives. Like other Republicans in the race, he has sought to align himself with the policies of former President Donald Trump.
Schmitt has made headlines with his numerous lawsuits and litigation against COVID mask mandates, election fraud and border policies. He sued dozens of school districts over their mask requirements during the height of the pandemic, including public schools in Columbia and Jefferson City. He also filed a brief in support of overturning Roe v. Wade before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Schmitt said "I think you just got to be unafraid, fight for people, fight for our kids. And again, that's the kind of fighting spirit I want to take to Senate," in response to being asked if he thought the lawsuit's he has filed were worth the people's time and money.
Those actions have led to criticism that he's using the attorney general's office for political reasons. Hartzler has criticized him for votes he made while he was a state legislator, as well.
Schmitt held a campaign rally in south Columbia on Wednesday evening.