Governor fighting a losing battle

Saturday, April 14, 2018

About a month ago, I urged lawmakers and the public to hold their opinions on embattled Gov. Eric Greitens until all the facts were known concerning his criminal case that started with an extramarital affair.

As the facts begin to trickle out, it seems the once-rising political star of the Republican party is fighting a losing battle.

Greitens’ unnamed accuser has testified that the Governor slapped, spanked and shoved her in a violent manner and that the sexual encounters were nonconsensual.

But there are ample holes in her story and much of her testimony does not match other statements she has made in the past.

Greitens’ legal team has asked a judge to dismiss the case. That decision could come as early as this weekend.

Much of the focus of the Governor’s defense has zeroed in on the liberal St. Louis prosecutor. And those charges may well stick.

Put simply, the St. Louis prosecutor has a lot to answer for and I would not be surprised if the prosecutor herself will not have her day in court on misconduct charges.

But all of the legal wrangling is somewhat unimportant. The case against Greitens is weak at best — at least from a legal standpoint.

Regardless of the legal outcome, Eric Greitens is political toast. His reputation is forever stained and even though he could weather the legal storm, his political future as Governor of Missouri is highly in doubt.

Increasingly important is how the Greitens’ case will impact the highly-contested race for the United State Senate.

Sen. Claire McCaskill is seen as relatively vulnerable and is one of only a handful of Democratic seats in jeopardy.

Attorney General Josh Hawley is mounting a strong charge against the incumbent Senator and the race is seen as a key election to determine the outcome of the United States Senate.

But some political observers rightfully believe that the brouhaha surrounding the Governor could be just enough to keep McCaskill in the Senate. That puts the Greitens case in the national spotlight.

Hawley joined the chorus this week calling on the Governor to resign. He is far from alone in the Republican ranks.

In a critical election, it does not bode well for Republicans to have the conversation focus on the impeachment or criminal case against the Governor. Hawley may have to carry that baggage and in a close election, it could be the tipping point in McCaskill’s favor.

We held high hope for Eric Greitens. High hope.

But even if the Governor prevails in the courts, he will face a virtual impossible hurdle to rebuild his image, his political capital and his reputation.

The details of the affair are devastating. The political backlash will be even greater.

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