JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.— Missouri was preparing to swap out leaders Friday, replacing a scandal-plagued governor who had faced potential impeachment with a lieutenant governor whose first objective will be to bring an end to months of political drama.
Republican Gov. Eric Greitens has said he. Republican Lt. Gov. Mike Parson is to be sworn in shortly thereafter during a low-key ceremony in the governor's office.
Greitens' resignation is part of a deal with a St. Louis prosecutor to drop a felony charge alleging misuse of a charity donor list to raise money for his 2016 gubernatorial campaign. His voluntary departure also avoids the potentially dubious distinction of becoming the first Missouri governor to be impeached by the House.
He still faces the potential of a special prosecutor refiling sexual misconduct charges related to an extramarital affair in 2015. The Missouri Ethics Commission continues to investigate a complaint that Greitens' campaign filed false documents about the charity donor list. The FBI also has received information about Greitens from the chairman of a House investigatory panel and a private attorney representing the ex-husband of the woman with whom he had an affair.
The 44-year-old Greitens is a former Navy SEAL officer who won election in 2016 as a political outsider pledging to take on "career politicians" and crack down on perceived corruption in Jefferson City.
Parson, 62, who was elected separately from Greitens, is an Army veteran who built a career as a law officer and lawmaker. He spent 12 years as the rural Polk County sheriff before serving another dozen years in the Missouri House and Senate.
Parson kept a low profile as scandals grew around Greitens following the January revelation that Greitens had engaged in an extramarital affair in which a woman alleged he was physically aggressive. As Greitens denied any violence, Parson shied away from joining some other top Republicans who called on Greitens to resign. Instead, Parson emphasized the need for unity.
Parson will serve the remainder of Greitens' term, which runs until 2021.