Rep. Billy Long kicks off Missouri Senate campaign after meeting Trump
Long’s advisers include Jamestown Associates, the prominent Republican media company that designed ads for Trump’s presidential campaigns, and Caroline Wren, who was one of the main fundraisers for Trump’s re-election effort. Long also hired Kellyanne Conway, who was Trump’s White House adviser and led the final months of his 2016 campaign, to serve as senior adviser.
Conway, who is also advising several other 2022 candidates, is on an invitation as a special guest at a donor event Long is hosting next week in Springfield, Missouri.
Long, 65, who is running to replace retired GOP Senator Roy Blunt, joins a Republican primary field that includes State Attorney General Eric Schmitt, attorney Mark McCloskey, Rep. Vicky Hartzler and former Governor Eric Greitens. Earlier on Tuesday, Representative Ann Wagner announced that she would not be joining the primary, but would instead run for re-election in her district. But with so many contenders already in the race, the competition for donors is on: Long sends out invitations to next week’s fundraiser featuring a host committee of nearly 100 major donors, including the director of Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris and the owner of the trucking company Robert Low.
Trump has yet to approve a candidate in the race, although he has been in regular contact with Missouri Senator Josh Hawley on how to enter the contest. Hawley, who has received information from all of the major Republican candidates, has so far given no indication of who he might support.
In a state that Trump won by 15 points, candidates go to great lengths to prove their allegiance to the former president. Just this week, a super PAC aligned with Schmitt began running a digital ad with an image of him standing alongside Trump. Greitens, meanwhile, recently campaigned with former Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle signed on as Greitens’ national campaign chair. In June – a few weeks before the announcement of his Senate campaign – Long traveled with Trump to the southern border.
Greitens, who stepped down in 2018 following allegations he sexually assaulted a woman, is causing widespread concern in key GOP circles. A victory in Greitens’ primaries, worry many party officials, could give Democrats a chance to win the general election in a state where they would likely find it difficult to compete otherwise. This, in turn, would jeopardize the GOP’s prospects of seizing the majority in the Senate, which is currently split 50-50.
Long appeared to take an implied blow to Greitens in his Wednesday night announcement.
“We have to get the Senate back, you won’t get nothing until you get the Senate back, and I’m the guy who can win that Senate seat in Missouri and make sure we don’t have a big race over there, ”Long told Fox’s Carlson.
Greitens has struggled to raise funds, despite having the backing of Richard Uihlein, a billionaire executive at a shipping and industrial supplies company who is one of the Republican Party’s biggest donors. Other major donors who have entered the race include tech investor Peter Thiel, who contributed to the Schmitt-aligned super PAC.