Eric Greitens will be the Republican nominee for Missouri governor, the Associated Press reports. Greitens, the nonprofit executive and former Navy SEAL from St. Louis, emerged Tuesday night as the winner of a competitive Republican primary that also featured St. Louis businessman John Brunner; former U.S. attorney and Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway; and Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.
Greitens will face Democrat Chris Koster, the Missouri attorney general, who has long been favored to win his party’s nomination and did so over three opponents Tuesday.
Libertarian Cisse Spragins ran unopposed and also will advance to the Nov. 8 general election.
Greitens was the leading fundraiser of all the GOP gubernatorial candidates, bringing in more than $8.7 million in a race that saw the four contenders combine to raise more than $23.3 million. Greitens will face a well-funded opponent in Koster, who had raised $15.7 million as of a July 25 filing with the Missouri Ethics Commission.
Greitens, 42, joined the navy in 2001 and served four tours of duty overseas, including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. After coming back to the U.S., he founded The Mission Continues, a nonprofit that helps veterans land volunteer work and ease the post-military transition.
He has said he wants to prioritize jobs and help build an economy that supports the private sector.
Born and raised in St. Louis, Koster, 51, has been the state’s attorney general since 2009. Before that, he served in the Missouri Senate for four years. Originally elected to the Senate as a Republican, Koster switched to the Democratic party in 2007.
Koster’s professional experience includes a two-year stint as a litigation attorney and 10 years as the prosecuting attorney in Cass County.
Koster says he is a firm supporter of private property rights and workers’ rights, and he has been a vocal opponent of so-called “right to work” legislation in the state.