The Missourians will elect a new U.S. senator next year to succeed Republican Senator Roy Blunt, who announced in March that he was not running for re-election after having held the post since 2011.
The general election for the Senate race, between Democratic and Republican candidates, will lead the ballot in November. The primary elections, in which a series of candidates from both parties will seek nominations, will take place on August 2, 2022. Candidates have until March 29, 2022 to run.
The general election winner will join Republican Senator from Missouri, Josh Hawley, in the 100-person upper house in Washington, DC, where he will serve a six-year term. Here’s who’s running (and thinking about running) to be the next US Senator from Missouri.
The recent mainstays of the left-wing Missouri party have almost entirely withdrawn from the conversation in the US Senate – leaving the nomination open to a range of foreigners and new faces.
Air Force veteran Jewel Kelly has put mental health reform at the forefront of his campaign.
Founder of A Fighting Chance Foundation, a nonprofit mental health and suicide awareness organization, Kelly addressed a rally of Greene County Democrats in September over her daughter’s death by suicide in an emotional speech on developing policies that prioritized empathy.
Lucas Kunce, a Jefferson City native, Navy veteran and political underdog, led the Democratic field on fundraising in late June.
Kunce sports an economically populist platform, striving to break down corporate monopolies and pass a federal infrastructure and employment plan for the state called the “Marshall Plan for the Midwest”. He captured bursts of national virality in digital campaign ads and made several appearances on MSNBC and Bloomberg after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Activism and social justice are at the heart of Tim Shepard’s campaign. The LGBTQ + rights activist and entrepreneur, who grew up north of Kansas City, has a broad, progressive platform on social equity, voting rights, sustainable agriculture and economic reform.
In a speech to Greene County Democrats in September, Shepard focused on his personal background, pointing out his ups and downs as he came to terms with his identity and passions.
Those close to state politics may be familiar with former state senator Scott Sifton. The Saint-Louis lawmaker served two years in the House and two terms in the Senate before ending in 2021.
Sifton is leveraging his past successes over Republican candidates to justify his eligibility, highlighting his 2012 victory over a GOP incumbent and his re-election in the “Trump Wave.” His time in state house paid off in endorsements, winning them over from a number of state Democrats past and present.
Spencer Toder, a native of St. Louis and owner of a small business, is focused on restoring political trust.
He told Greene County Democrats in September that he spent 70% of his time speaking with Democrats and 30% with Republicans, trying to overcome political divisions and focus on areas of mutual importance. Toder criticized Gov. Mike Parson in his speech, saying he lost his grandmother to COVID-19 as Parson took “photos” for the vaccine rollout.
Even with months before the primary elections, the Republican field for the U.S. Senate is brimming with big names, from statewide officials to members of the Missouri Congressional delegation.
Former governor Eric Greitens is trying to re-enter Missouri politics, running for nomination after stepping down as governor in 2018 amid a scandal and facing impeachment of his own party.
Explicitly considered an outcast of the Missouri Republicans, Greitens spent time on the campaign trail carving out a far-right national profile – speaking alongside close Trump ally Rudy Giuliani and visiting the Arizona’s poll, as it supports election security theories that experts say have little to no basis in reality.
Representative Vicky Hartzler, who represents parts of central Missouri and western Missouri in the conservative 4th District, has also entered the race. Hartzler, pointing to his electoral record and his support for former President Donald Trump, criticized the Biden administration and the Chinese government.
Hartzler is not the only member of the House of Missouri delegation to campaign – she is joined by Rep. Billy Long, who serves the Southwest of the 7th District of the House of the United States. Long took his Trump-centric platform and campaign folk style with the “Billy Bus,” sporting a photo of his head.
When he kicked off in Springfield last month, Long made it clear that he favors name recognition over dollars, and also aims for the coveted endorsement of the former president, who remains the biggest presence in republican politics. The auctioneer frequently cites his early support for Trump in the 2016 primary race.
Mark McCloskey, a lawyer from St. Louis, is also part of the Republican field. McCloskey made national headlines when he and his wife pointed guns at social justice protesters walking past their homes last year. He pleaded guilty in June to a felony of assault in the fourth degree, was fined $ 750 and relinquished his and his wife’s guns; he said he would “do it again”.
The lawyer presents himself on a far-right populist platform, frequently citing critical race theory, culture cancellation and electoral integrity.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt led the fundraiser in late June, when the most recent campaign finance data was available. Schmitt, who previously served as a senator and state treasurer, was appointed AG to replace Hawley in 2019 and was re-elected last year.
Schmitt’s stint as attorney general and his candidacy was defined by his lawsuits against local state and federal officials, seeking the vanguard of the conservative opposition against the Biden administration. The St. Louis native has led efforts to block voter-approved Medicaid expansion in Missouri, sued officials in St. Louis and Kansas City who reinstated mask warrants in the summer, has filed a class action lawsuit against school districts that have done the same, and fought with the US Department of Justice over a new Missouri law that overturns some federal gun laws.
A Remington / Missouri Scout poll released in September had Schmitt and Greitens at 28% and 27% respectively, in response to a question about who voters would choose if the primary was held today.
Retired Army Col. Paul Walker has also announced his candidacy, he told the News-Leader. Walker said he was previously a conservative college professor at a local Salt Lake City school and has authored several books on American history.