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Analysis: Alleged blackmail scandal overshadows Greitens' State of the State address

Eric and Sheena Greitens hold their sons, Joshua and Jacob, while speaking to reporters after casting their ballots the St. Louis Public Library in the Central West End. 2016
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh analyzed the aftermath of Missouri Governor Eric Greitens' 2018 State of the State address. Joining the discussion were St. Louis Public Radio’s statehouse reporter Marshall Griffin, political reporter Jo Mannies and interim political editor Jason Rosenbaum. 

Hours after Greitens delivered his second State of the State address, he acknowledged his involvement in an extra-marital affair before he launched his campaign for governor in the fall of 2015.

Greitens and his wife, Sheena Greitens, issued joint statements through their lawyer after St. Louis television station KMOV-TV (Channel 4)reported on the matter, denying any allegations of blackmail.

“It’s as if the State of the State address didn’t happen last night,” Griffin said. “Everything that constitutes the business of government right now is focused on this story that broke last night.”

The House convened for five minutes Thursday morning to adjourn the meeting until next week, canceled press availability and members are “keeping mum,” Griffin said.

Members of the Missouri Senate discussed a letter Sen. Doug Libla, R-Greenville, will send, asking Attorney General Josh Hawley to investigate whether any laws were broken by Greitens based on the allegations of the affair.

Mannies said the sex scandal revelation will further make it more difficult for Greitens to push his political agenda. During the State of the State address, he called for a new round of tax cuts — amid the state still trying to adjust to previous years’ tax cuts, federal tax cuts and the state’s $150 million budget downgrade from the tax cuts.

“All of that, which is a serious issue of itself, all of sudden gets into a backdrop over the affair allegations,” Mannies said. “It’s going to be very difficult for him to advance his agenda, at least in the short term.”

Listen to the full discussion:


St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Lara is the Engagement Editor at St. Louis Public Radio.