Eric Greitens, the Republican governor of Missouri, announced his resignation this afternoon following months of scandal, criminal allegations and an accelerating impeachment effort supported by state lawmakers of both parties.
He’ll be replaced by Mike Parson, the state’s lieutenant governor. (Parsons is also a Republican.)
Greitens, 44, a former Navy SEAL who had never held public office before securing the governorship in 2016, was once considered a future presidential contender. His fall from grace began and ended with allegations of corruption surrounding campaign contributions; the resignation announcement came the same day a judge ordered fundraising information to be turned over to a state House committee considering impeachment.
But the governor landed in the national spotlight over sexual allegations regarding his former hair stylist, which became public earlier this year. Greitens was accused of photographing the woman nude without her consent, then threatening to blackmail her with the photo. That allegation led to felony invasion of privacy charges being filed against him by a St. Louis prosecutor. Those charges were later dropped.
Greitens has maintained throughout the scandal that he’s innocent of any wrongdoing, and he remained defiant when announcing he was stepping down today. He said he’d faced “legal harassment of colleagues, friends and campaign workers, and it’s clear that for the forces that opposed us, there is no end in sight. … I cannot allow those forces to continue to cause pain and difficulty to the people that I love.”