- The Washington Times - Monday, March 8, 2021

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt said Monday he is not seeking reelection, creating an open Senate seat in 2022. 

Mr. Blunt has been involved in politics for decades, first serving in county office and then as Missouri secretary of state before representing the state’s 7th Congressional District. He was elected to the Senate in 2010. 

“Thanks to Missourians, whether you voted for me or not, for the opportunity to work for you and a better future for our state and our country,” the Republican said in a video announcing his decision. 

“There is still a lot to do, and I look forward to every day this year and next year as I continue to work for you in the Senate,” he added.

He said he has cast nearly 12,000 votes in Congress but after serving in county office, the House and then the Senate, he’s ready for a change.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said the announcement was a loss to the GOP conference. 

“Sen. Blunt has tackled so much important work for Missouri and our country and has been an enormous asset to all his colleagues,” Mr. McConnell said. “I’m very sorry he’ll be stepping away but am glad the country has two more years to keep benefiting from his talent.”
A major accomplishment Mr. Blunt has touted is his work for Alzheimer’s research. 

As chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, Mr. Blunt increased funding for the National Institutes of Health, raising money for Alzheimer’s research from $631 million to $3.1 billion.

Mr. Blunt joins Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby and North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr in announcing their decisions not to seek reelection.

Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican who resigned in 2018 amid blackmail allegations that were later dropped, said before Mr. Blunt’s announcement that he was considering a primary challenge against him in 2022.

Jean Evans, former Missouri Republican Party executive director, said the state has a number of GOP leaders who are popular and could make a bid to replace Mr. Blunt.

She pointed to Rep. Ann Wagner, who represents Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District, noting she does well with suburban voters, a key demographic.

“This is going to be a very expensive race, so one of the main things you have to look at is fundraising,” she said.

There’s already one Democrat eyeing the seat.

Last month, former Missouri state Sen. Scott Sifton, a Democrat, announced he would challenge Mr. Blunt in 2022.

In the past few election cycles, Missouri has become an increasingly red state.

Former Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, served as the state’s senior senator from 2007 to 2019 before losing to Sen. Josh Hawley, a pro-Trump Republican.

She said she will not run for office again.

“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,” she tweeted Monday.

The last Democratic presidential candidate to win the state was former President Bill Clinton in 1996. 

Dave Boyer contributed to this story.

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