Loyal Trump-backer Rep. Billy Long claims that Trump's endorsement of "ERIC" in Missouri's GOP Senate primary is actually for him
- Rep. Billy Long claimed that Trump endorsed him after all in Missouri's Senate race.
- Trump announced his backing for "ERIC" a reference to the name of the two leading candidates.
Former President Donald Trump decided on Monday to show Missouri Republicans his political power by offering a vague endorsement for "ERIC." On Tuesday, one of his allies who is not named Eric responded by jokingly claiming that the semantics of Trump's endorsement meant that it was actually for him.
"I coined the phrase 'Trump Train.' I've been with him through thick and thin but I was taken aback when he came out with a full throated endorsement of me in #MOSen race!" Rep. Billy Long wrote on Twitter. "He said to pick BETWEEN the two ERIC's - that's ME! E.S. line 2 E.G. line 4 I'm BETWEEN the two on line 3!"
Polls close in Missouri at 7 p.m. local time tonight. The Senate primary will be one of Tuesday's most closely watched contests.
In an earlier statement, Long acknowledged that Trump didn't pick him.
—Billy Long (@auctnr1) August 2, 2022
Trump's reference to ERIC is a nod to embattled former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned during a sexual misconduct scandal, and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt.
"I trust the Great People of Missouri, on this one, to make up their own minds, much as they did when they gave me landslide victories in the 2016 and 2020 Elections, and I am therefore proud to announce that ERIC has my Complete and Total Endorsement!" Trump wrote in a statement published by his Save America PAC.
Both Erics have claimed Trump's backing, adding to the oddity of the situation. Greitens has been the target of millions in negative ads as more establishment Republicans worry about his old scandals and new allegations that he abused his now ex-wife will cost the party a chance at holding onto the seat come November. Sen. Roy Blunt, the No. 4 Senate Republican, is retiring. Greitens has repeatedly denied the abuse allegations.
To add more confusion, there are technically three Erics on the ballot as Navy veteran and comedian Eric McElroy is also on the ballot. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, who previously received Sen. Josh Hawley's backing, poked fun at this.
"Congrats to Eric McElroy," Hartzler said in a statement, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "He's having a big night."
As for Long, he was an early endorser of Trump's 2016 campaign. The congressman has also garnered a reputation for his auctioneer roots such as when he drowned out a protestor in 2018.
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