Skip To Content
Breaking News

Jewish Navy SEAL Wins GOP Primary for Missouri Governor

Eric Greitens, a Jewish former Navy SEAL, won the Republican Party primary for Missouri governor.

Greitens, who served in Iraq from 2003 to 2007 and is the recipient of seven military awards including a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart, defeated three opponents in Tuesday’s primary. He will face Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster in November. The Democratic incumbent governor is ineligible to run again due to term limits.

Eric Greitens Image by Rubenstein Public Relations

Greitens is a former Rhodes Scholar with a PhD from Oxford. He is the author of four books including a collection of inspirational letters to a fellow Navy SEAL struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Greitens told the Forward in a March 2015 that “I’m proud to be Jewish.”

He said then that saw his entry into politics as an extension of the Jewish mandate of tikkun olam.

He added that “people have been incredibly welcoming to me as a Jewish Republican.”

He told JTA in an interview that he had many positive Jewish role models while growing up in the Maryland Heights suburb of St. Louis, where he attended the city’s B’nai El synagogue, a Reform congregation.

The Republican Jewish Coalition congratulated Greitens on his primary victory. “We look forward to ensuring he becomes the next Governor of Missouri. At a time when our country faces uncertainty at home and abroad, Commander Greitens’ service and leadership proves he is the right man for the job. Missourians would be lucky to have a man of his caliber lead their great state,” Matt Brooks, RJC executive director, said in a statement.

In February 2015, another Republican candidate for Missouri governor, Tom Schweich, killed himself shortly after telling journalists that a fellow party member was leading a whisper campaign saying he was Jewish, to hurt his chances in the primary with evangelical Christian voters. Schweich, who had a Jewish grandfather, was affiliated with the Episcopal Church.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.