February 19th, 2009
02:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Blunt announcement sets up showdown in Missouri

Blunt announced Thursday he is running for Senate.
Blunt announced Thursday he is running for Senate.

(CNN) – Missouri Rep. Roy Blunt Thursday announced his intention to run for a seat in the U.S. Senate, a move that sets up what is likely to be a showdown between two prominent families in one of the country's most politically divided states.

Making the official announcement in St. Louis, the former House Republican Whip indicated he would run on a platform of keeping Democratic control of both Congress and the White House in check.

"Common sense and open debate are in danger of being suppressed by the overreaching liberal monopoly in Congress and the White House," he said according to prepared remarks. "Never has Washington been in greater need of hearing from people who work hard, pay their taxes, and want solutions to urgent economic problems and the ongoing threat of terrorism."

"My sense is Missourians and Americans are not well served by one-party rule," Blunt also said, citing the massive stimulus measure signed by President Barack Obama that won little Republican support.

The announcement comes two weeks after Democrat Robin Carnahan jumped into the race - another Missourian with prominent name recognition who enjoys widespread support.

"The Missouri Senate race is shaping up to be one of the most competitive races of the cycle," said Nathan Gonzalez, political editor of the Rothenberg Report. "It has attracted two of the biggest names of the state that has a history of closest elections."

Both Blunt and Carnahan are seeking the Senate seat set to be vacated by longtime Missouri Republican Kit Bond.

Blunt, a six-term congressman representing the state's conservative southwestern corner, is a longtime Missouri politician with high name recognition across the state and solid support among his party's conservative base.

He has run for statewide office several times during his nascent political career, having served as secretary of state for two terms before losing the Republican primary for governor in 1992. His son Matt also served as the state's governor from 2005-2009, but ultimately decided not to seek another term amidst low approval ratings.

Blunt faces a state that has become increasing Democratic in the last several election cycles. The state's other Senate seat went Democratic in 2006 with Claire McCaskill's narrow win, and Democrat Jay Nixon was elected governor of the state in 2008. But Republicans still hold edges in the state's House and Senate chambers, and have a majority of the state's nine congressional seats.

While Blunt is likely to enjoy the support of the party's establishment, he could face a competitive primary challenge from former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, a vocal critic of her party's leadership who narrowly lost a bruising primary bid for governor last year.

Even though she is not particularly popular in her party, Steelman's message of reform could resonate if the GOP's national approval ratings remain low throughout the next two years.

"Republicans would like to avoid a primary in the Senate race, but she's not the kind of person they will be able to just shove out of a race," Gonzalez said. "She relishes in being in an outsider role."

But should Blunt make it to a general election facing Carnahan, the race will likely become a hard-fought and high-profile battle of two powerful political names.

Carnahan's father, Mel, served as governor of the state from 1993-2000 and died in a plane crash while running for the U.S. Senate. Carnahan still won the seat, defeating then-Republican Sen. John Ashcroft, and Carnahan's wife Jean held the post for two years.

Carnahan's brother is also a U.S. congressman representing the outskirts of St. Louis.

But national Democrats are eager for a match-up against Blunt, who was a protégé to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and has been linked to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

"As one of the faces of the same old Republican Party, Roy Blunt enters this race with a whole lot of baggage and a whole lot of questions to answer," said Eric Schultz, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's communication's director.

Democrats will also highlight Blunt's stalwart support of former President George W. Bush, especially when it comes to economic policies.

"I'd hate to be him, and explaining my votes on the Bush positions," DSCC chairman Bob Menendez said of Blunt last week. "They got their ideas into law. It created one of the worst economies I have ever seen."


Filed under: Missouri
soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. Jean

    Where is this story?

    "The Federal Election Commission (FEC) notified Judicial Watch this week that it has “closed the file” on our complaint against Senator Barack Obama for allegedly accepting a below market rate mortgage loan in 2005 not available to the general consumer. In its factual and legal analysis, however, the FEC does confirm that Obama obtained a discounted loan but said no laws were violated.

    So, to sum: Yes Barack Obama did receive a special below-market loan the rest of us couldn’t get. And a big “no” to the idea that he ought to be held accountable for it. Upset? So are we."

    February 19, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  2. Michael Steele

    That's right yo!!! We gotta fight for our trizzle-dizzle economizzle!!!

    February 19, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. america first

    no more republicans, just listen to STEELES comments and you can see why we ARE THRU WITH ALL YOU RACIST AND ARROGANT REPUBLICANS.

    February 19, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  4. Ex-Republican

    Tax cuts will remove the threat of terrorism, right?

    Present day Republicans are a joke. All they have in their arsenal is "Tax Cuts" and "Terrorism". They need to simply cease to exist, they are a party of the past, that represent only 2% of american and would rather destroy the country then serve its best interests. Between the mantra of "Do nothing" and "Tax cuts raise the dead, feeds the world, cures cancer and gets you into heaven", its time for them to simply give up. They have no solutions. GOP, the problem to all of our solutions.

    The modern day GOP is rotten to the core!

    February 19, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. lovable liberal

    This does increase the Republicans' chances of holding onto a seat that they already have. That's the extent of the good news for them – a pretty thin reed.

    February 19, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "Never has Washington been in greater need of hearing from people who work hard, pay their taxes, and want solutions to urgent economic problems and the ongoing threat of terrorism."

    Moron. You guys have been heard loud and clear, weighed, measured and been found wanting. To summarize:

    "tax cuts socialism spending pork trickle-down illegals terrorism second amendment fear fear fear bipartisanship da-n immigrants outsourcing no no no we're so angry we're not in control!!!"

    February 19, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. AJ

    "Common sense and open debate are in danger of being suppressed by the overreaching liberal monopoly in Congress and the White House,"

    Interesting. Blount wasn’t too interested in common sense and open debate during the era of republican majority and G.W. Bush. If the Republicans didn’t like something the democrats were going to do they just threatened to change the rules so that they didn’t need any democratic support. This man is a hypocrite of the highest order and his inability to separate the truth from a lie should in itself be a reason for banning him from public office.

    February 19, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  8. Robert W.

    I guess one party rule is okay, as long as it's your party.

    February 19, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  9. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    One thing is consistent and true with the GOP, they are as loony as ever.

    But, I look forward to see the likes of Orin Hatch and Jim "Boner" with some gold "toofuses" when opening their grills in the coming debates.

    Entertainment doesn't get any better than this!!

    February 19, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. yuri

    One of the most captivating statements uttered by Blunt is–"Common sense and open debate are in danger of being suppressed by overreaching liberal monopoly in congress and the WH". Wow and wow indeed!

    That was one heck of a Blunt statement which kept reverberating in our ears. If GOP keeps feeling that way and acting like they are the saviors of the world, one party system is more than enough.

    February 19, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  11. Kaye -Jacksonville FL

    "My sense is Missourians and Americans are not well served by one-party rule,"

    I would bet that Rep Blunt didn't feel that way when W was in the White House and Republicans were having their way in Congress...

    Hypocrites – all around. America will be watching in 2010...

    February 19, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. ELB

    I'm in MO and I'm voting for Carnahan. You go girl!

    February 19, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  13. basiliorio

    What happened to the concern about 'one party rule' when Repulicans controlled all 3 branches of government?

    February 19, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  14. Kingsley

    So let me get this straight, his platform is that he wants to oppose the President and the democrat's control of the issues. Not that he necessarily has better ideas, just that he wants to offset the Democratic majority in the Senate. Now its official, the Republicans are intellectually bankrupt.

    February 19, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. WhoCares?

    " "Never has Washington been in greater need of hearing from people who work hard, pay their taxes, and want solutions to urgent economic problems and the ongoing threat of terrorism.""

    Good Lord. They are stull running campaigns that labels Democrats/Liberals as just lazy welfare people while they are the hard-working "REAL AMERICANS".

    I'm actually starting to believe that Conservatism is some sort of mental disability. They just don't have any clue why they were voted out in 2006 and 2008.

    Go ahead GOP – Continue with your mud-slinging negative and insulting campaigns. I guess you need another Election before you get that Americans hate your vile junk you spew.

    Maybe send out the "Barack the Magic Negro" song again to everyone. That should rile up the hate that you permenantly wallow in.

    February 19, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  16. Gracie

    Wow... and the Republican party is the gift that just keeps giving. Roy Blunt was the former WHIP huh?

    Well, I hope he's in for one serious beat down because he's about to get his butt WHIP like never before in Missouri.

    I find it very funny that every Republican that comes out talking, does nothing but blow "hot air" of petty threats and obstructionist rhetorics. Have you ever noticed that? Is that ALL they have?

    Sad....

    February 19, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  17. tony

    Yeah, the GOP is "protecting" our country and citizens by making sure there is no Democratic majority!?!? Where the hell were the "protectors" the last 8 years? All they did was rubber stamp everyting Bush wanted. Look where it got us. We w on't be fooled again by your lies......

    GOP = Godless Old Pedophiles

    February 19, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. Joyce in Indiana

    Not being from Missouri, I am not too familiar with either of the Republican candidates. I will say, however, that it's sad that the #1 reason a candidate gives for why he should get the Republican primary vote is that he can keep the Democrats from getting complete control in the Senate.

    What about good ideas? How are you going to help your state and your country? If Republicans want to have a say in things, they need to at least act like they care about the country more than they care about winning elections. Sad, sad, sad.

    February 19, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. Griff

    Closed-Shop? Then Pop, another new face comes on the scene. Where are you? (not this guy. You!).

    February 19, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  20. FreeNLovIt

    Pick a WOMAN!! Congress has been controlled by men for too LONG>>>>>> and it spelled DISASTER>..

    February 19, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  21. Bankrupt in USA

    will Missouri really vote for a partisan obstructionist who supported Bush's lies about WMD in Iraq?
    will Missouri really vote for the House cheerleader for Bush's economic policies?
    I guess after 6 terms, Blunt needs more time in Washington.

    February 19, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  22. obama-mama

    You have my vote Carnahan

    February 19, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  23. Terry

    The openly declared Republican position is to prevent the government, elected by me and a majority of Americans, from solving the nation's problems. "Just say 'No,'" is their slogan. Their platform is voodoo economics and Herbert Hoover social programs (meaning: do nothing for people who are suffering).

    Somehow, these right-wing extremists have developed the thought in their minds that only they are worthy of leadership and only their bizarre ideas can be implemented into law.

    The Republican Party has declared war on the middle class and the poor. They prefer to rule a bankrupt country rather than help govern a prosperous one. A healthy democracy needs two or more parties, but neither of them should be the Republican Party.

    February 19, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  24. your sense is all f**ked up, roy!

    we the people want to keep you and your corporate thief friends

    as far away from the positions of power

    as possible

    for the foreseeable future!

    February 19, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  25. Chris, St. Joe

    Doesn't Blunt have some Abromoff stink about him?

    On the other hand, to people in Missoura, Carnahan is still a good name.

    February 19, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
1 2 3 4 5