Dems see opportunity as GOP Senator announces he will not run for reelection in 2022

Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt unexpectedly announced Monday that he will not run for office again in 2022, dealing yet another blow to the GOP as a number of other lawmakers have also stated they will not seek reelection.

Blunt serves as the ranking Republican member of the powerful Senate Rules Committee. He is a high-profile member of the Republican leadership and is very close to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Blunt is viewed as a moderate within the GOP.

“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,” Blunt stated in a released video.

“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,” Blunt noted.

(Video Credit: KMBC 9)

“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,” the Republican moderate opined.

“Another lesson I learned here: Finish strong. And I intend to,” Blunt said.

Blunt was not wholly supportive of former President Trump after the Capitol riot. He said on “Face The Nation” after the incident: “I think the president’s decisions and his actions that day and leading up to that day on this topic were clearly reckless. I said that very early in the evening on Wednesday, that this was a tragic day for the country. And the president had involvement in that.”

He also added: “My personal view is that the president touched a hot stove on Wednesday and is unlikely to touch it again. And if that’s the case, every day we get closer to the last day of his presidency. We should be thinking more about the first day of the next presidency than the last day of his presidency, in my view.”

Blunt voted to acquit Trump during the second impeachment attempt.

The Missouri senator is now 71 and will finish out his term. He did not specifically say why he is leaving the Senate or what he will do after he leaves his seat. His elected position is expected to stay in Republican hands. The GOP retaining that seat is vital in their quest to regain control of the Senate. Missouri is viewed as an increasingly Republican state at this time.

Other Republican Senators heading for the door include Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. Currently, no Senate Democrats who are up for reelection in 2022 are announcing plans to step down.

Blunt was elected to the Senate in 2010 by a wide margin. In 2016, he beat Democratic challenger Jason Kander by three percentage points.

A number of Democrats have already announced running against Blunt in 2022. Kander tweeted that he would not be one of them.

In his position with the Rules Committee, Blunt worked with Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar to reform how Congress addresses sexual harassment issues among its employees. He also served in a leadership role in the House of Representatives before being elected to the Senate.

According to his biography on the Senate website: “The people of Southwest Missouri overwhelmingly elected Senator Blunt seven times to the U.S. House of Representatives. Senator Blunt was elected the Majority Whip earlier in his career than any Member of Congress in eight decades, and he was elected to the Senate leadership during his first year in the Senate.”

Contenders for Blunt’s seat include Missouri’s former Gov. Eric Greitens, Rep. Ann Wagner, Rep. Jason Smith, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft.

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