Eric Greitens Founder and CEO, The Mission Continues speaks at the Robin Hood Veterans Summit at Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum on May 7, 2012 in New York, N.Y.
Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty for The Robin Hood Foundation

Scandals force Missouri’s GOP governor to resign in disgrace

Updated

It’s not surprising that Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) was forced to resign; it’s surprising that it took so long. Not long after the governor’s sex scandal broke, one Republican state senator declared, “Stick a fork in him.”

That was early January.

Greitens nevertheless stuck around, insisting he could politically survive, even as new allegations surfaced, even as new details of his allegedly brutal extra-marital affair came to public light, and even as the threat of impeachment grew more serious. Yesterday, however, the GOP governor reversed course and called it quits.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, once a rising star in the Republican Party, said Tuesday he is resigning after facing impeachment by state’s GOP legislature following a sexual misconduct scandal and a felony charge involving possible campaign finance violations. […]

The Associated Press reported shortly after Greitens’ announcement that St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said her office has reached a “fair and just resolution” on criminal charges against Greitens now that he’s stepping down. The details won’t be released until Wednesday, she said.

That raises the possibility that the governor’s resignation was part of some kind of plea agreement. [Update: It was, in fact, part of a deal with prosecutors.]

Regardless, Greitens’ resignation represents the coda of a remarkable fall from grace from a young Republican who was seen as a rising star in national politics. The Missourian, a Rhodes Scholar and retired Navy Seal, had reportedly even registered the EricGreitensForPresident.com domain name.

That dream now appears dead. Greitens will officially step down on Friday and will be succeeded by Lt. Gov. Mike Parson (R).

The developments probably come as a relief to state Attorney General Josh Hawley (R), who’s been dogged by questions about his handling of the Greitens scandals, to the point that it’s become an unwelcome distraction from Hawley’s U.S. Senate campaign.

Postscript: While congressional resignations are relatively common – 15 members have given up their seats in the current Congress, for example – gubernatorial resignations are more unusual.

The New York Times published a good piece about a year ago on each of the governors who’ve been forced from office over the last couple of decades.