GOP candidates vying for retiring Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt’s seat are jostling for former President Donald Trump’s coveted endorsement. But while one currently seems to have Trump’s fickle favor, Rep. Vicky Hartzler says the numbers, and her track record, put her out front in the Trumpstakes.
“Vicky Hartzler has been ranked the No. 1 Senate candidate in America for President Trump’s agenda in Washington,” her campaign tells The Heartlander, citing an analysis from political website FiveThirtyEight. The analysis says Hartzler has voted with Trump’s positions 95.1% of the time, which she and her campaign say is the highest “Trump score” among U.S. Senate candidates not just in Missouri, but nationwide.
Missouri Rep. Billy Long, also running for Blunt’s seat in the Republican primary election, scored 93.9%. The analysis was for members of the U.S. House and Senate. Other senatorial candidates in the Missouri GOP primary, such as state Attorney General Eric Schmitt and former Gov. Eric Greitens, weren’t scored.
Still, Greitens has been in the news of late for having curried Trump’s favor with an op-ed on Brietbart.com last September promising to vote against Sen. Mitch McConnell as party leader if he’s elected. Trump, a vocal critic of McConnell, publicized Greitens’ article, and then met with Greitens at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
That said, Politico.com reported that Trump told Greitens “he had an open mind about whom he may support.”
Hartzler says she, too, has good vibes about the former president.
“I’ve had good conversations with the president lately. In fact, he just called me last week,” Hartzler told The Heartlander on Friday. “He knows that I worked alongside him. He’s very complimentary of my campaign. He says I’m doing a great job. I’d love to have his support. We’ll see if that happens.”
Hartzler says she’s stood with Trump on rebuilding the economy and the military, achieving energy independence, protecting life and securing the border. Hartzler notes that on a trip to the southern border two years ago, she learned that cartels were using drones to fly drugs into the U.S. – and that Border Patrol agents couldn’t stop them because out-of-date federal laws viewed them as “aircraft” that couldn’t be shot down. She says she later drove a change in law to allow for it.
“I was proud to stand alongside the president and work with him to help accomplish these things,” Hartzler said. “And, boy, our country needs it now more than ever. We have seen the failed leadership of this administration and how he has dismantled everything that we accomplished under the Trump administration.
“Our country and our world are worse off for it. We have got to reverse course.”
Politico questioned whether Trump would consider endorsing Hartzler, writing that, in the aftermath of Jan. 6, “Hartzler accused the former president of making ‘unpresidential remarks’ and said ‘many’ of the rioters ‘supported President Trump.’”
But Politico also wondered whether Trump would “cross” his ally Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, who has enthusiastically endorsed Hartzler.