Missouri Senate race sees second Trump supporter, AG Eric Schmitt, jump in

Schmitt announces candidacy for Senate on 'Fox and Friends'

Showcasing his support for former President Trump and taking aim at President Biden, Missouri GOP Attorney General Eric Schmitt on Wednesday announced his candidacy in the 2022 race to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Roy Blunt.

"Washington, D.C., needs more fighters, needs more reinforcements to save America. So after a lot of reflection, support from folks back home, and on behalf of the people of the great state of Missouri, I'm announcing my candidacy for the United States Senate," Schmitt said in an interview on "Fox & Friends."

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Schmitt touted that "as attorney general, I've spent my time defending President Trump and the America First agenda and all the prosperity that came with that – secure borders, energy independence, more opportunities for more Americans. And now, I'm spending my time pushing back against Joe Biden as he tries to dismantle that in, really, a betrayal of the American worker."

And he warned that "increasingly, it feels like our culture and our country is slipping away, and all the levers of power in Washington, D.C., are tilted towards the Democrats."

Schmitt is the second Republican to launch a campaign to try and succeed Blunt, who has served nearly a quarter-century in Congress.

In this Aug. 6, 2020, file photo, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt speaks during a news conference in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

In this Aug. 6, 2020, file photo, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt speaks during a news conference in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File) ((AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File))

Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens announced his candidacy for the Senate during an appearance Tuesday on Fox News' "Special Report."

Greitens told Bret Baier the people of Missouri "need somebody who is going to go – as I will, as I am committed to do – to defending President Trump's American First policies and also to protecting the people of Missouri from Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer's radical leftist agenda."

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Greitens resigned as governor in 2018 amid allegations of sexual misconduct – which he denied – and charges that he used a veterans charity he set up to fundraise for his gubernatorial campaign. The charges of violating campaign finance laws were dropped in a deal he struck with prosecutors.

Schmitt was elected to the Missouri Senate in 2008 to represent a suburban St. Louis district. He won a statewide election in 2016 as Missouri treasurer. He took over as state attorney general in 2019 when Josh Hawley stepped down after being elected to the Senate. Schmitt was elected last November to a full term as state attorney general.

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In a statement that may allude to Greitens and his baggage, Schmitt said "we also need a leader who can hold this Senate seat in firm Republican hands without giving Democrats any chance to take this seat back."

While Trump easily captured Missouri by nearly 20 points in the 2016 presidential election and just over 15 points last November, Senate contests have been much more competitive. Blunt won reelection in 2016 by just three points, and Hawley defeated then-Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill by six points in 2018.

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The Senate is split 50-50 between the two parties, but the Democrats hold a razor-thin majority due to the tiebreaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, who serves as president of the Senate. That means the GOP only needs a one-seat pickup to regain the majority in next year's elections.

But Republicans are defending 20 of the 34 seats up for grabs in 2022. Besides Missouri, they're defending GOP-held open seats in the key battlegrounds of North Carolina and Pennsylvania as well as the potentially competitive state of Ohio.