Republican gubernatorial nominee Eric Greitens went on the attack Saturday over an ad featuring President Barack Obama endorsing Democrat Chris Koster for Missouri governor.
In the ad, the president says Koster will work to “protect the Affordable Care Act from Republicans working to take folks’ insurance away. He’ll finally expand Medicaid in Missouri, giving more folks the financial security of health care.”
Obama goes on to say Koster will fight for public education and to raise the minimum wage, before concluding with: “My name might not be on the ballot this year. But all the progress we’ve made together sure is. Chris Koster will build on that progress, not roll it back.”
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Greitens campaign quickly sent out a statement, saying the ad is evidence that Koster is “just another liberal, big-government Democrat politician like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.”
Recent polling has shown the Greitens-Koster race is neck-and-neck heading into Tuesday’s election. Greitens’ strategy of late has been to link Koster to the top of the Democratic ticket, since Hillary Clinton is expected to lose to Donald Trump in Missouri and Obama lost Missouri in 2012 by nine percentage points (although he lost in 2008 by less than 4,000 votes).
Greitens’ campaign criticized Koster over the news that Clinton would send roughly $500,000 to Missouri to help Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts in the state, as well as his outspoken support of expanding Medicaid eligibility, a key provision in the Affordable Care Act.
Koster faced a similar strategy in 2012, when the Republican running against him for attorney general tried to tie him to the top of the ticket by repeatedly referring to him as “Obama’s lawyer.” He won re-election that year by 15 percentage points.
Koster calls Medicaid expansion “one of the biggest economic-development opportunities Missouri has seen in decades.” But as attorney general he also drew the ire of his fellow Democrats in 2011 when he urged a federal judge to invalidate a central provision of Obama’s health care law.
When he’s been asked about Clinton’s candidacy, Koster always notes that there are many things he disagrees with her on but that he still supports her candidacy. He told the St. Louis American that among his reservations about Clinton are that “I wish she were a warmer candidate, or something – whatever the word is that everybody knows, but nobody can put their finger on.
For his part, Greitens has remained mostly quiet on the Republican at the top of the ticket, Donald Trump. When video emerged showing Trump bragging about sexual assault, Greitens tweeted that he found the comments “disgusting and wrong.” But he did not withdraw his longstanding support for the GOP presidential nominee.