SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Eric Greitens victory in Tuesday’s Republican primary raises questions— like— did Democrats meddle in that particular race?
Three days after polls closed, the ballots have been officially counted, revealing that twice as many votes were cast for Republican candidates on Tuesday in the primary for governor.
Opposition party involvement in a primary isn’t without precedent in Missouri, as U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., attacked Rep. Todd Akin in 2012 as Missouri’s most conservative congressman in hopes she would draw him as her primary opponent.
And about a month before this primary the national Democratic Governors Association pumped almost $700,000 into attack ads against Greitens, perhaps detecting him as a notable adversary to Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster.
KOLR10 Political Analyst Dr. Brian Calfano said this relationship is hard to pin down because no exit poll data is available, and he’d like to see if there are precincts with higher than average Democratic ballots and a significant lead for Greitens.
But with Koster as the only real contender on the Democratic side, Drury Political Science Professor Daniel Ponder said some voters may have just been motivated by the fact that the Republican ticket had four choices for governor.
“A lot of Democrats or independents maybe leaning Democratic might not have shown up, my guess is that a lot of them didn’t show up because, why? On the other hand there probably were some people that would have otherwise voted Democrat who came out and cast votes for the republicans, either to meddle or to have input into either for or against a particular candidate.”
Greitens, earning 34 percent of the vote Tuesday, had the lowest support of any candidate to win a primary for Missouri governor since 1908.
Ponder said he believes this primary was unique in that the Republicans had four viable candidates for voters to choose from.