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Ashcroft, Hartzler and Williams.

Race to replace Roy Blunt could be most crowded in years

No sooner did Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt announce that he will not seek reelection in 2022 than speculation began about might run replace him. “The Missouri Times” listed a number of potential candidates from both parties who may – or may not – enter the race.

Several Democrats already have announced that they are in:

  • Former state Sen. Scott Sifton: “Today’s announcement shows just how high the stakes are for Missouri families next year.”
  • Lance Kunce: “Roy Blunt may be retiring, but the interests that have waged war upon the middle class are stronger than ever in Washington. The same companies that Washington worked with to ship jobs and opportunity out of our state for decades are stronger than ever… while Missouri has had the worst economic recovery from the great recession in the area. The Marine Corps taught me to fight, to lead and to organize. The fight is now here in Missouri.”
  • Tim Shepard: “With Blunt out of the race, we now have the opportunity for the people of Missouri to actually choose their candidate. We can end the cycle of ‘king-making,’ where candidates are chosen by a small group at the top of the parties. That doesn’t sound like democracy to me, and it’s the entire reason why I am running. With Blunt out of the race and primaries in both parties, we have an opportunity to restore the democratic process in Missouri.”

Other Democrats are considering their options:

  • State Sen. Brian Williams: “I appreciate the words of support I have received from those encouraging me to explore serving our state in the U.S. Senate. If the extreme fringe of the Republican Party is determined to make Missouri relive past embarrassments from politicians trying to settle old scores, I will do what it takes to make sure Missouri can choose a real leader who won’t back down from a tough fight.”
  • Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas: “I rise each day thinking about how I can best serve the people of Kansas City and Missouri, and I will consider over the next several weeks whether that is in a statewide position — something no African American in Missouri has ever done. Today, I remain focused on leading our city through the COVID-19 pandemic and our economic recovery.”

Several prominent Republicans are speculating about entering the race:

  • Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft: “Katie and I will be praying and talking to friends and family about how I can best serve the state of Missouri.”
  • Gov. Mike Kehoe: “Claudia and I intend to spend some time talking with family, friends and supporters about how I can best contribute to the future of our great state.”
  • Attorney General Eric Schmitt: “I have been receiving significant encouragement from supporters across the state to consider running for U.S. Senate. I will continue talking with supporters, my family and praying about how I might best continue serving Missouri.”
  • S. Congressman Jason Smith: “I will continue talking to working-class families, farmers and small-business owners across our state to see how I can best serve and protect them.”
  • S. Congresswoman Ann Wagner: “Representing your hometown in public service is both humbling and inspiring at the same time. While the Second District is home, I have been proud to work throughout Missouri prior to my time in public service and am humbled by the outpouring of encouragement from folks across our great state today. I take their outreach seriously, and plan to discuss with my family what the future holds for me in the coming days.”
  • While not having publicly stated an interest, Vicky Hartzler has been brought up in discussion. The popular 5-term Congresswoman representing Missouri’s Fourth District herself won a seat in an upset victory over 37-year incumbent Ike Skelton.

And two leading Democrats already have said no

  • Former U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill: “I will never run for office again. Nope. Not gonna happen. Never.” McCaskill suffered an embarrassing loss to Josh Hawley in 2018.
  • Former Secretary of State Jason Kander: “I’m the president of Veterans Community Project, and we’re building campuses for vets around the USA. Love this work, don’t want a new job.”

Filing deadline for the race to replace Blunt is not until 2022.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice