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McCaskill appearing with Rachel Maddow.

Several Missouri Democrats considering run for Blunt Senate seat

Many people assume that the winner of next year’s Missouri Republican primary will go on to be the next senator. Democrats are hopeful, however, even in the face of polls that show high disapproval of their leaders in Congress.

State Sen. Jill Schupp and other party leaders acknowledge that none of the five announced Democratic contenders has the name recognition or familiarity ideal for such a race. Recruiting is a challenge in a state that Donald Trump won by more than 15 percentage points in 2020, and Democrats have won only one statewide race in the last eight years.

Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, who became a national star during his unsuccessful campaign against Blunt in 2016, has said he’s not interested. He formerly dropped out of the race over what he described as mental health issues. Former Sen. Claire McCaskill, who lost badly to Josh Hawley in 2018, has so far ruled out a run. Clint Zweifel, a former state treasurer, wrote in an email that politics is “in my past.”

Some Democrats now hope that former Gov. Jay Nixon, who left office in 2017, will run. Nixon has said little about the race publicly, though, telling local media in March that a Senate bid was “not what I’m focused on right now.”

Scott Sifton, a former state senator from the St. Louis area, has been running since before Blunt announced his retirement and raised more than $300,000 in the first two months of his campaign. Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway, the party’s lone statewide officeholder and candidate for governor last year, has endorsed him So far, Sifton’s main rival is Lucas Kunce, a Marine Corps veteran from Independence who has the support of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group closely aligned with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

The race includes three other Democrats: Timothy Shepard, a progressive activist from Kansas City; Jewel Kelly, an Air Force veteran from Jefferson County who emphasizes his “moderate” approach; and Spencer Toder, a St. Louis County businessman. State Sen. Brian Williams of the St. Louis area and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas are among those who have expressed interest in running.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice