Greitens’ resignation shifts Missouri’sfocus to Senate race

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley. (Getty Images)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The end of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ tenure as governor could breathe new life into Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley’s campaign.

Greitens stepped down Friday. Fellow Republican Mike Parson, who was lieutenant governor, replaced him.

Greitens’ months-long fight for political survival left the GOP bruised and fractured. Greitens’ troubles posed challenges on multiple fronts for Hawley. While Democrats attempted to tie him to the former embattled governor, Hawley’s call for Greitens to step down also angered some Republicans loyal to him.

Although Democrats say they’ll keep talking about Hawley’s ties to Greitens, University of Missouri-Kansas City political scientist Beth Vonnahme says his resignation could take the bite out of those attacks.

But she added that Hawley still has work to do in mending relationships with Greitens’ supporters.