KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri announced Monday he will not seek reelection in 2022, making him the fifth Senate Republican to bow out rather than seek another term.
Before election to the Senate in 2010, he served seven terms in the U.S. House. He also served two terms as Missouri’s secretary of state from 1985 to 1993.
Blunt said although he’s not looking to be reelected, he doesn’t classify this as a retirement and is ready to work hard and “finish strong” over the next two years.
“I’m optimistic about our country,” he said. “I think we’re at a moment now in our country where if we make the right decisions, really good things can happen for us and I intend to be a part of that the next two years.”
FOX4 contributor and Kansas City Star columnist Dave Helling said he believes Blunt felt out of place in a party he’s called home for decades.
“He was uncomfortable when Trump was around, and yet felt like he couldn’t say anything and maintain any relevance in his party, and that’s just a very tough place for a politician to be,” Helling said.
The Republican senator made headlines as he played a somewhat moderate role in former President Donald Trump’s final days in office regarding controversies over voting integrity and the Capitol riot.
Blunt urged confidence in the voting system, saying Americans can have confidence that elections are secure and that President Joe Biden won fair and square.
However, he later disagreed that Trump should be impeached for inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Blunt didn’t endorse Trump’s actions, saying he should ‘be careful’ in his final days in office. Yet, he advocated for moving on to the transition of power over holding impeachment hearings.
Within hours of Blunt’s announcement, a flurry of names emerged as potential candidates to replace the longtime Missouri senator.
A mayor, an attorney general, a secretary of state and a former governor — recognizable names in Missouri politics, from both sides of the aisle, are already hinting they might run for Blunt’s seat in 2022.
“The easiest thing to do is just name the people who aren’t thinking about running for the Senate in Missouri. I mean, the list is so long,” FOX4 contributor and Kansas City Star columnist Dave Helling said.
Some noteworthy Democrats have also already hinted they’re considering a run at Missouri’s open Senate seat. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas put out a statement that reads:
“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.”
And what about former Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned amid scandal in 2018? Helling said there’s clearly a path to victory for the former Missouri governor in a GOP primary, which could have a huge impact on who Democrats would run against him.
“The Democrats will try to put somebody up particularly because they may think if Eric Greitens is the nominee they’d have a chance, so the dynamic is just, as they say, wide open,” Helling said.
Helling believes it will come come down to money, polling and whoever has the grit for the grueling U.S. Senate campaign trail.
“It’s two years on the road if you want to run for the Senate seriously, lots of Saturday nights in Chillicothe,” Helling said.