A Republican candidate for Missouri Senate District 18 has been one of the governor’s most ardent supporters throughout this most recent tumultuous time during Greitens’ governorship.
When accusations of coercion and blackmail enveloped Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens following revelations that he had an extra-marital affair prior to his election, most lawmakers took a taciturn approach.
Even following a grand jury indictment that charged Greitens with felony invasion of privacy, most Missouri politicians approached the situation with a certain amount of reticence. Several politicians who requested Greitens to resign did so without revealing their identities publicly.
But Cindy O’Laughlin said she isn’t like most politicians.
The Republican candidate for Missouri Senate District 18 has been one of the governor’s most ardent supporters throughout this most recent tumultuous time during Greitens’ governorship. The Shelby County businesswoman is one of four Republicans seeking to replace term-limited Sen. Brian Munzlinger to represent Northeast Missouri in the state senate.
O’Laughlin’s name was recently connected to Greitens when an article she wrote for a New York-based news outlet was included on an email blast from the governor’s campaign on Feb. 27.
The subject of the email was “When the Left gets desperate” and linked to a page on observer.com, the New York-based outlet that was once a printed newspaper.
O’Laughlin’s name appears under the headline “Want to See How Desperate Democrats Are? Look No Further Than the Show-Me State.”
The piece criticizes Kim Gardner, the Democratic Circuit Attorney from St. Louis whose office launched an investigation into Greitens. O’Laughlin called the investigation a “witch hunt” and a “fishing expedition” and Gardner “avowedly anti-police and anti-law enforcement.”
O’Laughlin stands behind those assertions.
“As you can tell, I’m not a typical politician,” she said in an email. “I tend to speak my mind.”
That goes against the grain in Jefferson City, where only a handful of Democrats and a few Republicans have publicly called for Greitens ouster.
Most have said they will wait to render an opinion until the conclusion of the investigations by the Circuit Attorney’s office and, separately, by a House panel formed this week.
But it’s not just O’Laughlin staking out a vocal position on the governor.
One of O’Laughlin’s opponents in the Republican primary for Senate District 18, Rep. Nate Walker (R-Kirksville), has taken the opposite stance as O’Laughlin.
“The felony indictment of Missouri Governor Eric Greteins is sad, troubling and very disturbing for all Missourians. Almost four weeks ago, I called for Governor Greiteins to resign, to step down as Governor. He chose to not resign at that time; I again encourage him to resign,” Walker said in a statement following the indictment against Greitens.
Walker was one of the few Republicans who called for Greitens to resign since the allegations emerge in January.
That two of the most vocal politicians come from the same part of the state is somewhat unusual.
A May 14 hearing in St. Louis is scheduled in the case.
Scrutiny has befallen the Gardner investigation nearly from the beginning. The investigation is being led by an outside agency from Michigan, not local or state police. Some, including O’Laughlin, have argued that the woman involved in the case has asked for privacy and anonymity, meaning there’s no victim in the case.
Greitens is accused of restraining the woman — his former hairdresser — and taking a partially nude photo of her without her consent. Greitens has consistently denied those claims.
It is unusual for candidates for public office to take such a strong stand on a controversial topic, particularly during a campaign, but O’Laughlin said she’s not one to shy away from potentially controversial topics.
“Greitens has governed the right way and now he is being attacked. This is how I see it,” she said.
She also said she’s not connected to the Greitens campaign, nor was she paid by Greitens or any of his associates for the article.
“I am not paid for my views and I am capable of writing and placing my own op-eds,” she explained.
She is running a mostly self-financed campaign, making a couple of high-dollar loans to her campaign. She has also secured donations from dozens of individuals throughout the district.
The Observer was owned by Jared Kushner — Republican President Donald Trump’s son-in-law — from July 2006 to January 2017, when he transferred ownership to a family trust. Media bias indicators generally rank observer.com from center to right-of-center.
This week’s opinion is not O’Laughlin’s first foray into editorial writing. She has also penned articles published in The Missouri Times on the need for entitlement reform and “professional protestors.”
O’Laughlin, the only political newcomer in the Senate District 18 race, will face Walker (R-Kirksville), as well as Reps. Craig Redmon (R-Canton) and Lindell Shumake (R-Hannibal) in the August primary election.
Reach editor Eric Dundon at firstname.lastname@example.org .