MO-Sen: Another One Bites The Dust! Sen. Roy Blunt (R) Announces That He Won't Seek Re-Election
Big news today out of Missouri:
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO): "After 14 general election victories, three to county office, 7 to the US House of Representatives, and four statewide elections, I won't be a candidate for reelection to the United States Senate next year."https://t.co/6HOm3KamIL
— Dylan Wells (@dylanewells) March 8, 2021
I’m not too surprised by this announcement. Blunt wasn’t getting great coverage back home this year:
Missouri GOP Sens. Josh Hawley and Roy Blunt were taken to task in a stinging column published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board this week.
The newspaper’s board suggested the pair should have used ex-President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial for inciting the deadly U.S. Capitol riot to distance themselves from Trump and “to redeem themselves for blindly supporting a man whose conduct was indefensible.”
But instead, the editorial said, Hawley and Blunt were now just “bringing additional embarrassment to the state after having flirted with the abolition of democracy in favor of keeping a dictator wannabe in the White House.”Both Hawley and Blunt voted that the impeachment trial of Trump is unconstitutional.
Morning Call’s polling for earlier this year didn’t have great news for Blunt:
In Missouri, Hawley — who was abandoned by his political mentor, former Sen. Jack Danforth (R-Mo.), and a handful of large financial backers following his starring role in the push to challenge Biden’s victory — ceded much of his popularity edge over Republican Sen. Roy Blunt: Just over 3 in 5 Republicans in the Show-Me State now approve of both incumbents.
Hawley defended his move in a Missouri op-ed, saying, “I will not bow to a lawless mob, or allow criminals to drown out the legitimate concerns of my constituents.”
Blunt, who distanced himself from Hawley’s decision to object to the results of the election in a CBS interview, faces a re-election campaign next year. Hawley’s footing remains more solid than Blunt’s with the party’s base, as strategists believe the biggest threat to Blunt’s bid for a third term would come from a primary challenger. Three in 10 Missouri Republicans “strongly” approve of the junior senator who was elected in 2018, compared with 18 percent who favor Blunt with the same vigor.
That gap between the share of Missouri Republicans who “strongly” approve of Hawley and Blunt has narrowed to approximately where it was throughout November and December, before Hawley announced on Dec. 30 that he would join with House Republicans to object to Biden’s victory. It previously stood at 23 points ahead of Jan. 6 as Blunt helped certify Biden’s victory in his role as chairman of the Senate Rules Committee.
Among all voters in their respective states, both Cruz and Hawley have seen opposition grow over the past two or three months. Compared with surveys conducted Oct. 31-Nov. 9 — before the fallout of the 2020 election began to build — the share of all Texas voters who disapprove of Cruz increased 6 points, to 44 percent, while the share of Missourians who disapprove of Hawley in Missouri increased 14 points, to 49 percent.
And the GOP primary is really going to be interesting:
Former Gov. Eric Greitens is floating a political comeback.
Greitens on Monday expressed interest in running for the U.S. Senate seat held by fellow Republican Roy Blunt and blasted the incumbent for failing to adequately back former President Donald Trump.
Greitens, since resigning amid an avalanche of controversy in June 2018, toyed with a political comeback in 2020 before retreating as the candidate filing deadline for governor expired. So it wasn’t clear Tuesday whether he would follow through with a campaign.
But his entry would potentially split the Missouri GOP, which last year largely unified around a slate of incumbents — including Gov. Mike Parson, Greitens’ successor — in the August primaries.
“I am evaluating right now what I’m going to be doing this year,” Greitens said on the Marc Cox Morning Show on KFTK (97.1 FM) in response to a question about his 2022 intentions.
“The voters of Missouri deserve to have leaders in the U.S. Senate who are going to fight for them,” Greitens said. “Unfortunately Roy Blunt has been out siding with Mitch McConnell, he’s been criticizing the (former) president of the United States over what happened on Jan. 6, he’s been criticizing the (former) president of the United States for not coming to Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Missouri Senate GE:
Roy Blunt (R-inc) 45% (+1)
Jason Kander (D) 44%@DataProgress/@MoveOn (D), LV, 1/10-12https://t.co/eEpOoaQC2X #MOsen
— Political Polls (@Politics_Polls) March 5, 2021
But there’s already a very good Democratic candidate in this race:
Former Missouri State Representative and State Senator Scott Sifton has declared his candidacy for the 2022 US Senate race.Sifton, who served one term in the Missouri House and two terms in the Senate representing St. Louis County, is looking to unseat two-term incumbent Roy Blunt.In his campaign launch video, Sifton accused Senator Josh Hawley of contributing to the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol through his rhetoric following the 2020 presidential election and decision against certifying the result. Sifton also criticized Blunt, his would-be opponent in 2022, and claimed he was “too weak to speak out” against former President Donald Trump.
Little more info about Sifton:
Sifton, in his 2016 state Senate campaign, won the endorsement of the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police, a police union that endorsed Republican Gov. Mike Parson in 2020. He also snagged endorsements from left-leaning groups such as Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club.
According to his website, several other unions endorsed him, including the Teamsters, Service Employees International Union and the Missouri AFL-CIO.
“There’s been a steady push against workers in this state whether they’re union or nonunion,” said state Sen. Doug Beck, D-south St. Louis County. “I think that that needs to be the focus of our Democratic Party. That we are the party of the working people. I think Scott can represent that for sure.”
Sifton, an attorney, served on the Affton School Board for nine years before he was elected to the Missouri House in 2010. He won election to the state Senate in 2012, flipping a formerly GOP-held seat that stretches from Oakville north to Brentwood. He won reelection in 2016.
Sifton considered a run for Missouri governor in 2019 but didn’t end up running, clearing the way for Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway.
Galloway lost by 17 percentage points to Parson, underscoring the challenge Sifton and other Democratic candidates would face in statewide contests.
Galloway said Monday she fully supports Sifton leading the party’s 2022 ticket, an indication top state Democrats will coalesce around his bid.
“Scott knows how to run and win a campaign focused on working families,” she said on Twitter. “He’s taken on corruption, fought against so-called right-to-work, supported health care expansion and strengthening public schools.”
While Missouri is a very red state, there is still some hope. Click here to ready the Daily Kos Election piece on how the closest race for the Presidency last year was in the St. Louis suburbs. Stay tuned. In the mean time, click here to donate and get involved with former State Senator Scott Sifton’s (D. MO) U.S. Senate campaign.