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Advocating for violence in a campaign ad might get attention, but will it get votes?

Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to the press on Feb. 22, 2022 after filing to run for Missouri's open U.S. Senate seat. Greitens is one candidate in a crowded field, with at least five other Republicans running for the same position. The primary is on Aug. 2.
Sarah Kellogg
St. Louis Public Radio
Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is running for the U.S. Senate. His latest digital ad has drawn criticism for promoting violence.

U.S. Senate candidate Eric Greitens's latest digital ad encourages supporters to get a "hunting permit" to go after those who are Republican in name only.

In the 38-second ad, former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens is holding a shotgun as he and film extras enact a raid on a RINO (Republican in name only) home.

University of Missouri - Kansas City political science Professor Debra Leiter said the ad was meant "to do something really important in primary elections, which is to get people talking about an individual candidate."

Leiter said the strategy is "risky," as it certainly got people's attention. However, it will need "to convince voters you can win in November" and only time will tell if this calculated risk will pay off.

For fellow Professor Rebecca Best, the concern is "the further normalization of political violence in our society." Those who have viewed the ad, Best said, " should be appalled when we see something like this."

  • Debra Leiter, associate professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • Rebecca Best, associate professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Missouri-Kansas City
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