TROY, Mo. – She has some of the biggest endorsements so far in the race for the GOP nomination for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat and is in a statistical dead heat according to recent polling, but U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler knows she trails two of the other leaders in name recognition.
Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt have run and won statewide races before. The Aug. 2 primary is her first attempt, after serving in the Missouri General Assembly and the U.S. House.
“A lot of people still don’t know who I am yet, but once they find out about my track record of getting things done and being a fighter for our values, they come alongside and support us,” Hartzler told reporters during a swing through the St. Louis region Thursday when she stopped for a meet and greet with voters at Cornerstone Coffee and Confections, a Troy, Mo., coffee shop that supports Christian ministry work in Missouri and Africa.
Hartzler, a Cass County native who has represented that area in Jefferson City and Washington, D.C., may still be an unknown quantity in the St. Louis area. But she told Spectrum News she’s taken a lead on issues tied to Boeing, one of the region’s biggest employers.
Defense officials have telegraphed in recent years that they’re ready to move on from the St. Louis-built F-18 Super Hornet, which at least for the company’s U.S. contract is due to stop production in 2025. Hartzler, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, took credit for getting the Pentagon to resume purchases of the F-15, also built in St. Louis, as well as additional F-18s. She described the F-18 as “a critical capability that the Navy does need,” while criticizing the Biden administration’s defense budget for coming “in less than the nation needs to defend itself.”
On abortion, Hartzler, a staunch social conservative, supported the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. “What happened back in 1973 was a bad court decision. There is no constitutional right for abortion and so I was proud of this court for saying we’re going to release some power and give it back to the elected representatives,” she said.
When asked if she favored a federal ban on abortion, Hartzler pointed to her support for the proposed 2021 Life at Conception Act, which would grant equal protection under the law to beings “at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization or cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.” Hartzler does not support exceptions for rape or incest, telling reporters, “I don’t believe any child deserves to die because of the sins of the father.”
Hartzler voted against certifying results from the 2020 presidential election. She was asked on the day she filed for the Senate race if the 2020 election was stolen, and she told reporters, “I don’t think we’ll really ever know, because there are so many inconsistencies.”
This week, Hartzler said her opinion remains unchanged, despite sworn statements from former Trump administration officials and other election officials who have testified before the Jan. 6 committee. She also cited allegations of stuffed ballot boxes made in the Dinesh D’Souza film "2000 Mules," a theory that former Trump administration Attorney General Bill Barr dismissed in his Jan. 6 testimony. An Associated Press analysis of the film’s claims found them unproven and based on faulty assumptions.
“There’s still just a lot of questions out there, but most importantly I think steps need to be taken at the state level to ensure that voters have confidence that their vote counts,” Hartzler said.
On the question of one of the first votes Hartzler could take if elected in November, she offered no guarantees for Mitch McConnell when the time comes for a leadership election.
“We’ll see who runs, but I’m not promising my vote to anyone. I’m going to support the most conservative one that’s going to fight to take the country back,” she said.