Republican Senator Roy Blunt announced Monday that he will not be seeking reelection in 2022.
“After 14 general election victories, three to county office, seven to the United States House of Representatives, and four statewide elections, I won’t be a candidate for reelection to the United States Senate next year,” said Blunt in a video posted to YouTube.
“In every job Missourians have allowed me to have, I’ve tried to do my best. In almost 12,000 votes in the Congress, I’m sure I wasn’t right every time, but you really make that decision based on the information you have at the time,” continued the senator.
Blunt is the fifth Republican senator to announce their retirements. Senators Pat Toomey (PA), Rob Portman (OH), Richard Shelby (AL), and Richard Burr (NC) all have announced their retirements. All of these seats are up for election in 2022.
The Missouri seat likely is not expected to be competitive for Democrats. Although Blunt only won by three percentage points in 2016, the state has swiftly become a Republican stronghold over recent years, with Trump winning 57% of the vote in 2020 and Senator Josh Hawley defeating Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill by nearly 6 percentage points in 2018.
Blunt currently serves in a leadership role as the Senate Republican Policy Committee chairman and serves as the ranking Republican member of the Senate Rules Committee.
US Reps. Ann Wagner and Jason Smith, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, Lt. Gov Mike Kehoe, and former Gov. Eric Greitens are potential candidates for the seat, according to CNN.
Kehoe tweeted on Monday that he plans to “spend some time talking with family, friends and supporters about how I can best contribute to the future of our great state.”
Wagner has stated that she also plans on discussing her future with her family.
A strategist for the Missouri Republican party told CNN that Schmitt is “very likely” to run for the seat and is currently observing “interest among his supporters.”
“The Missouri Republican Party is grateful that we have such a deep bench of strong conservatives that are willing to step forward and serve the people of Missouri,” said Charlie Dalton, Missouri GOP executive director to CNN. “In August of next year, the voters will have to decide who they feel will best represent them in the Senate and we are looking forward to keeping Senator Blunt’s seat a Republican-held seat that November.”
Three Democrats have launched bids for the open seat, including former state Sen. Scott Sifton, Marine veteran Lucas Kunce, and activist Tim Shepard. Former Democrat senators McCaskill and Kander stated that they will not run for the seat.