The Buzz

Missouri gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens is a no-show in Lee’s Summit


GOP gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens was a surprise no-show Wednesday at a scheduled campaign kickoff tour stop in Lee’s Summit.

It may have been because only three folks were on hand to greet him, including a reporter for The Buzz. Shortly before the 2 p.m. scheduled start, a campaign volunteer said Greitens was running a few minutes late. But 10 minutes later, the volunteer said the visit was off because Greitens had been held up in Columbia, Mo.

Greitens was scheduled to appear at a Chili’s restaurant. When the reporter arrived, a Greitens volunteer said there may have been a mixup over the schedule as only one person was already in the restaurant awaiting the candidate.

Supporter Eric Zahnd, the Platte County prosecutor, showed up a few minutes later. He praised Greitens as a different kind of candidate who knows what he doesn’t know and isn’t afraid to ask questions. Zahnd had planned to stay out of the race, but that changed after he met the candidate.

A former Navy SEAL, Greitens formally launched his campaign Saturday and entered a crowded GOP field following a long flirtation with the race. He promoted himself at the time as an outsider who is pro-guns and anti-abortion. He is seen as something of a dark horse — a candidate with no experience in elective office, but with a resume to die for. He’s also a former Iraqi vet, a Rhodes Scholar and the founder of a non-profit that helps returning veterans.

That killer resume, and Greitens potential to emerge as a leading contender in a year of the outsider, is making some rival Republicans and Democrats extremely nervous.

But the lack of a crowd in Lee’s Summit just east of Kansas City was surprising. Lee’s Summit is a Republican stronghold, and the visit was planned well in advance as part of Greiten’s kickoff tour that is also taking him to Joplin, Springfield, Cape Girardeau, Washington, Columbia and Kirksville.