Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, and Trudy Busch Valentine, a Democrat candidate. (Photos provided)


Crime and gun violence took center stage in the campaign last week for U.S. Senate in Missouri as we enter the final eight days before the Nov. 8 election.

Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt took to the airwaves with new attacks on his Democrat opponent Trudy Busch Valentine, saying she is “liberal on crime,” while he said he used his office to push to lock up criminals. In turn, she said Schmitt was lying about her views.

Schmitt’s new TV ads — with separate versions for the St. Louis and Kansas City markets — were likely in the works for some time as Republicans across the country have been pushing a “tough-on-crime” agenda.

But the timing of their release on Wednesday came just two days after gun violence — and Missouri’s laws strongly supporting gun ownership and Second Amendment rights — came in for scrutiny again following the tragic shooting at a St. Louis high school.

The Busch Valentine campaign sought to capitalize politically on the moment.

The Kansas City Star reported: “After a gunman killed two people at a St. Louis high school on Monday and injured seven more, Democrats once again renewed their call for Congress to step in and pass more restrictive gun laws. Trudy Busch Valentine, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Missouri, said in a statement Monday night that she supported popular gun control measures like universal background checks, expanding access to mental health treatment and red flag laws, which allow law enforcement to seize someone’s weapons if a judge deems them a threat to themselves or others.

… Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who is favored to win Missouri’s U.S. Senate race, is among the Republicans who oppose gun restrictions. … Schmitt’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment about legislation regarding assault weapons. On Twitter, after the shooting, his campaign called the shooting a “senseless tragedy.” Read more.

Rows of flowers and candles have been left in front of Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis, following the tragic shooting on October 24, 2022 that left two dead and several others wounded. (Photo by Rebecca Rivas/Missouri Independent)

On the day following the shooting, Busch Valentine held a meeting at which eight St. Louis area mayors called for tighter gun regulations, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

And the Missouri Independent reported that while Democrats called for tougher gun laws, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson told a TV reporter Tuesday that he believes tougher gun safety laws won’t help. Missouri’s gun laws consistently rank among the least restrictive on the Gifford Law Center’s annual scorecards for states.  

Meanwhile St. Louis Public Radio reported: “The gunman at Central Visual Performing Arts High School obtained his firearm from a private seller after an FBI background check blocked his attempt to buy one from a licensed dealer, St. Louis Police said Thursday. … [Sgt. Charles] Wall also said Missouri doesn’t have a so-called red flag law, which would start the process to take away a gun from someone who is a threat to themselves or others. That means, Wall said, St. Louis police officers did not have authority to temporarily seize the rifle when they responded to the suspect’s home when called by the suspect’s mother earlier this month.”


While Second Amendment rights has been less of an issue in the general election campaign, Schmitt touted his gun-rights bona fides during the Republican primary campaign. “Conservative fighter Eric Schmitt received an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association,” the campaign said in a July 15 news release.  “Eric Schmitt is a constant and reliable defender of the Second Amendment. Eric Schmitt led the brief in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, and recently issued the Biden administration a cease and desist letter to prevent government agents from unlawfully auditing Missouri’s conceal carry permit licenses.”

With recent gun violence as a backdrop, Schmitt launched a new TV ad highlighting what Schmitt says is Busch Valentine’s “radical, anti-cop agenda.”

Busch Valentine’s campaign released a statement denying that she supports defunding the police. On Sunday, she tweeted out a new online ad, saying Schmitt was lying.

Here is the Kansas City version of Schmitt’s ad:

YouTube video

From the Opinion pages

On Sunday, The Kansas City Star endorsed Busch Valentine, saying she “has shown an impressive streak of passion and energy that would serve Missourians well in Washington.” The editorial notes:

“Normally, we’d favor a candidate with more experience in public office. But every election comes down to choices, and in this case voting for Schmitt would be a reckless one. Valentine, for all the wealth she was born with, is thoughtful, engaged and committed to the state. That’s precisely what voters should want in a senator.”

Meanwhile, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch pulled no punches on either Schmitt or Busch Valentine in its “non-endorsement” editorial on the Senate campaign.

“The most disappointing contest on the Missouri ballot this year is the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican. Normally, Democrats in deep-red Missouri wouldn’t even be in contention to flip a seat. But uniquely unfit GOP nominee Eric Schmitt, currently Missouri’s attorney general, has repeatedly abused that office with stunts designed to whip up base voters on pandemic policies, school curriculum and other right-wing tropes. … 

“Facing such a divisive figure, Democrats might have had a chance at an upset with a serious, experienced nominee. Instead, the party offers brewery heir Trudy Busch Valentine, whose utter lack of political savvy and policy credibility has ensured the race is all but over. A Senator Schmitt will be bad for Missouri and for America, but to endorse a platitude-spouting novice with no chance of victory just because neither party could nominate an acceptable candidate would have been disrespectful to readers.”

As a reminder, as a nonprofit news organization, the Springfield Daily Citizen does not offer endorsements or take official positions on community issues. The Daily Citizen does publish guest columns and letters to the editor, as well as occasional opinion pieces from staff columnists. These columns do not represent the views of the Board of Directors or management of the Daily Citizen.

In the News

From the Kansas City Star: Missouri’s Eric Schmitt is not running for president. Staff error led to brief speculation — “A clerical error on the Missouri Republican Senate nominee’s October campaign filings caused brief speculation that Schmitt, the state attorney general, was eyeing a bid for president. On routine campaign documents filed with the Federal Election Commission Wednesday, Schmitt’s Senate campaign put ‘President’ on the spot under ‘Office Sought.’”


Busch Valentine has a closing campaign ad called “Meet” in which she acknowledges people are frustrated with “an uneven economy, soaring costs and a Washington that’s not working.” She says she grew up lucky and “chose a life of service,” before repeating her slogan that she will be “nobody’s senator but yours.”

YouTube video

Tweets of the Week

Former President Donald Trump put out a video Oct. 24 in support of Schmitt. Trump talks about a variety of issues, including crime and inflation, then says Schmitt will fight for Missourians in the Senate. “Eric will never allow these things to happen,” Trump said. “He’ll fight for you and he’ll fight hard.”

The Daily Citizen Senate Campaign Digest is compiled by David Stoeffler, CEO of the Daily Citizen. Stoeffler has more than 30 years of experience in covering politics in Wisconsin, Nebraska and Missouri. If you have tips or suggestions for the Senate campaign coverage, you may email him at

David Stoeffler

David Stoeffler is the chief executive officer of the Springfield Daily Citizen. He has more than 40 years experience in the news business, having been a reporter, editor and news executive in Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Arizona and Missouri. You may email him at or call 417-837-3664. More by David Stoeffler