“Another lesson I learned here: finish strong. And I intend to,” Blunt said. “Thanks for giving me the chance to work for you.”
The senior senator would have been largely favored to win a general election against his yet-unknown Democratic challenger. So far, former state Sen. Scott Sifton and political newcomer Timothy Shepard have announced their candidacies to be the Democratic nominee, but Blunt’s exit from the race creates significant uncertainty in both parties concerning who will run to succeed him.
Here are some statements from members of both parties about Blunt’s retirement and their potential interest in running for his seat.
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (R)
“Katie and I will be praying and talking to friends and family about how I can best serve the state of Missouri.”
— Jay Ashcroft (@JayAshcroftMO) March 8, 2021
Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe (R)
“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.”
— Mike Kehoe (@LtGovMikeKehoe) March 8, 2021
Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R)
“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.”
Regarding the open #MOSen seat in 2022:
Throughout my public service, I have fought for lower taxes, less regulations & more opportunities for Missourians. As Attorney General, part of my job is to hold the Biden administration accountable every day on behalf of all Missourians.
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) March 8, 2021
U.S. Congressman Jason Smith (R)
“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…”
Missouri is better off today because of the service of Senator Blunt. As a fellow son of southern Missouri, I have always valued the advice and mentorship of our senior Senator and am grateful to call him a friend.
— Rep. Jason Smith (@RepJasonSmith) March 8, 2021
U.S. Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R)
“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.”
Today all Missourians celebrate the career of Roy Blunt. While today’s announcement is the end of an era, I look forward to working w/ him in service to Missouri during the remainder of his term & know he will do his utmost for our great state. Read more⬇️https://t.co/5WgFV6FWk9
— Ann Wagner (@RepAnnWagner) March 8, 2021
Former state Sen. Scott Sifton (D)
“Today’s announcement shows just how high the stakes are for Missouri families next year.”
My statement on the race for Missouri’s open senate seat. pic.twitter.com/6IMgs7U9qr
— Scott Sifton (@ScottSifton) March 8, 2021
State Sen. Brian Williams (D)
“The first time I worked with Sen. Blunt and his office was when he helped our region secure the National Geospatial Agency’s $1.7 billion investment in the City of St. Louis. Back then, I was a young congressional staffer and he was the Junior Senator from Missouri. During that process, Sen. Blunt never let partisanship or posturing stand in the way of achieving a real win for the St. Louis region. It was a lesson in leadership that I carry with me now in the State Senate.
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.”
NEW: Sen. @BrianWilliamsMO: If the extreme fringe of the GOP is determined to make MO relive past embarrassments from politicians trying to settle old scores, I will do what it takes to make sure MO can choose a real leader who won’t back down from a tough fight. #moleg pic.twitter.com/Bfsihwf2lV
— Kaitlyn Schallhorn (@K_Schallhorn) March 9, 2021
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas (D)
“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.
“Regardless, Kansas Citians and all Missourians deserve representatives in the U.S. Congress who wake up each day to fight for working families throughout our state, and I thank Congressman Cleaver and Congresswoman Bush for working hard this week to ensure vital relief gets to our communities.”
Former U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D)
“I will never run for office again. Nope. Not gonna happen. Never.”
To all that are asking: thank you to the many who have said kind things. But I will never run for office again. Nope. Not gonna happen. Never. I am so happy I feel guilty sometimes. #RoyBluntRetiring
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) March 8, 2021
Former Secretary of State Jason Kander (D)
“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.”
Regarding the Senate in ‘22:
Always nice to be asked. Thanks.
My decision not to run was never about who I’d run against.
I’m the President of @VCP_HQ and we’re building campuses for vets around the USA. Love this work, don’t want a new job.
I’ll campaign for the Dem nominee!
— Jason Kander (@JasonKander) March 8, 2021
Gov. Mike Parson (R)
“Roy has worked hard to ensure Missouri is not forgotten by D.C. and we are better for it.”
From a high school history teacher to Missouri’s senior senator, Roy has always put his love of this state above everything else. Roy has worked hard to ensure Missouri is not forgotten by D.C. and we are better for it.
— Governor Mike Parson (@GovParsonMO) March 8, 2021
U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R)
“Roy Blunt has been a Missouri institution. A consummate legislator, Roy has worked tirelessly for the state he loves and has served Missourians with distinction. He and Abby have been true friends to Erin and me and our family. We wish them the very best.”
Former Speaker of the House Elijah Haahr (R)
“His leadership will be greatly missed.”
3 years ago, I hosted a roundtable at the @gcmogop summer picnic. @RoyBlunt discussed how the party delivered on tax cuts, deregulation, and conservative judges. His leadership will be greatly missed. pic.twitter.com/bkaKz7XjMp
— Elijah Haahr (@elijahhaahr) March 8, 2021
U.S. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R)
“Thank you to my friend Roy Blunt for years of service to our great state.”
Thank you to my friend @RoyBlunt for years of service to our great state.
Looking forward to working together to advance Missouri priorities in Congress over the next two years. https://t.co/WooA37ChZE
— Blaine Luetkemeyer (@RepBlaine) March 8, 2021
State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick
“I know I’m not the only one who learned from watching him work for his constituents—regardless of which part of the state they live in or political party.”
Treasurer Fitzpatrick: For me, starting out as a young legislator eight years ago, @RoyBlunt was a statesman to look up to. I know I’m not the only one who learned from watching him work for his constituents—regardless of which part of the state they live in or political party. pic.twitter.com/VACXMwFI4d
— Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick (@MOTreasurer) March 8, 2021
Former U.S. Senator Jim Talent (R)
“As a Missourian, I regret his decision not to run, but he will do outstanding work for the rest of his term…”
.@RoyBlunt is one of the finest public servants I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. As a Missourian, I regret his decision not to run, but he will do outstanding work for the rest of his term, and I know that in private life he will continue to work for the public good.
— Jim Talent (@JimTalent) March 8, 2021
Kaitlyn Schallhorn contributed to this report. This story has been updated.
Conner Kerrigan is a writer and communications professional who lives in Columbia. He joined The Missouri Times team as the business manager in late 2020. Originally from Chicago, Conner is a graduate of Millikin University in Decatur.
Contact Conner at email@example.com.