COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine moved on to the November election Tuesday.
But they won't be the only candidates on the fall ballot, with Republican John Wood trying to get on the ballot in an independent bid. Libertarian and Constitution party candidates are also on the ballot.
Voters will choose who takes Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt's seat in the November general election. While Tuesday's election was expected to be tight, both Schmitt and Valentine took early leads in their crowded elections and cruised to victory.
Wood left his post as an investigator on the Jan. 6 select committee to run for the Senate seat. Wood dropped off the needed 10,000 signatures to be verified by the Secretary of State's office Monday.
Valentine beat out 10 other Democratic candidates, including Marine veteran Lucas Kunce, with 43% of the Democratic vote. The campaigning between the two got competitive quickly when Valentine accused Kunce of being too far right in political ads, and Kunce criticized Valentine's stance on LGBTQ issues.
Valentine will now face the current attorney general in November, who was the first to sign a proclamation enacting Missouri's trigger law after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Abortion rights continue to be an important topic for Democratic voters.
Schmitt beat out 20 other Republican candidates, including former governor Eric Greitens and U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville). Schmitt received 46% of the Republican votes, more than Greitens and Hartzler combined.
Schmitt had several notable endorsements for the primary, including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and the National Association for Gun Rights. However, the coveted endorsement of former president Donald Trump was apparently split between Schmitt and Greitens when Trump put his support behind "ERIC," giving no last name.
Schmitt said he received a congratulatory phone call from Trump on Tuesday night. Trump shared a post following the election saying, "Won all of our Endorsed Races in Kansas and Missouri last night. Great going 'Eric.' Big Night. Thank you."
U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley endorsed Hartzler in the race. However, after the results became clear Hawley congratulated Schmitt over Twitter saying, "now on to victory in November."
Schmitt will now prepare for the November election as he continues his duties as attorney general. Schmitt has been criticized in the past by Democratic state leaders who say he's used his office for political gain.