February 19th, 2009
02:30 PM ET
9 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. Arkay, MI

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

    Gee. I wonder why this tthe republicans did not notice it between 2000-2006?

    February 19, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. JC

    I'm so glad to see Kit Bond leaving after all these years. He brought an Amendment to the stimulus package and the Dems adopted it. Then he votes against the stimulus package. Now the old coot is going all over his state telling people he is the one responsible for getting them the stimulus money. What kind of person does that? Missouri is lucky to be getting rid of the likes of him. And if they have any sense they will put a Dem in his seat.

    February 19, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  3. Dallas John

    This has got to be a joke, right?

    February 19, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  4. FreeNLovIt

    Dear Obama,

    Thank you for showing us how to OWN the decisions we make in life. Thank you for showing America what it means to be a MAN again. Above all, I dont agree with all your policies since I am a conservative Christian, but thank you for showing America that once you make a decision, you need to OWN up to it. By the way, the Cabinet fiasco, that is NOT your fault. These are overgrown adults that are highly educated with years of professional experiences. They need to OWN their own problems of not filing taxes. You're not to blame for it. They should know better what interrogations and scrutinization looks like.

    February 19, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. Venia

    No more rethuglicans ever!

    February 19, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. S Callahan

    Go for it....problems aren't rightly solved with only one view...
    the balance is to have all views and take a little from each.

    February 19, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. Mark Ferbet

    As a Missourian, I can say this... I have voted for Bond for years... but I will never support Roy Blunt for that Senate seat. The Blunt family , like the Bush Family needs to disappear from politics for the good of the State of Missouri and this great Nation.
    Roy Blunt as the Republican Whip, also led this country into the position it's in now...
    I will work very hard to remind every Missourian that Roy Blunt's actions in Congress hurt the state of Missouri, and this Nation.

    February 19, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. cjr

    I'lll send $ to any democrat – Blunt is a right wing nut.

    Blue states forever

    February 19, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. Peter (CA)

    Hey Mr. Blunt-

    How well served were Americans from 2001-2006 under one party rule? Why did you not complain then? Why were you one of the Republicans so eager to pass legislation without even having the Democrats be part of it?

    You may have missed it but the people who work hard and pay their taxes spoke up recently. We told you that we were tired of your divisive politics, cronyism, and hypocrisy about "real Americans". You may want to go to the library and research it.

    February 19, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  10. Randyman

    Hmmm... Mr. Blunt suggests that as a liberal-minded Democrat, I don't work hard, don't pay taxes, and don't want solutions to the economic mess and terrorism. Please allow me to be blunt in my response... we liberal Democrats ARE responding to the economic crisis and terrorism, without your help. I'm offended that you think I don't work hard or pay taxes.

    February 19, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. Bronncohowie

    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."

    I guess he's saying that Democrats don't "... work hard, pay their taxes & want solutions ..."

    This is exactly why the GOP is dying in America. The republicans cannot stop with the slimy rhetoric of the past. They keep dumping on everyday people and expect us to just follow them like lemmigs. America has to realize that the Dems are the "Party of the People" and the GOP is the "Party of corporations, rich people & special interests".

    Sounds just like McPalin saying that small town America is where the "real" Americans are. Well, according to the last couple of elections, the GOP is not where America wants to be. The republican obstructionists must be stopped right now so that the mid terms in 2010 will be another sweep for the Dems.

    There is such a difference between Blunt & Claire McCaskill that it is obvious to me that even in a GOP stronghold like Missouri, people need to wake up and smell the truth. The GOP does not stand for America !!!!!!

    Blunt was just a King George Bush rubber stamp anyway. Go back to where you came from Blunty !!!!

    February 19, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  12. Angie

    another big mouth do nothing repub. they are getting more desparate everyday. it is so sad. they can't come up with any new candidates just like they can't come up with any new ideas. same old stuffing men.

    February 19, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  13. chadm

    Hey Roy! Do you think that Missourians and the American people have been well served by TWO-PARTY rule? Someone give me a well-reasoned answer to that one and I might believe again... and now that I'm thinking of it, I'm betting you'd be singing a different tune if your party was the one in control... either way, both parties have outlived their usefulness.

    February 19, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  14. Flex

    This man is a religious fundamentalist fascist, zealot, power-hungry whore. He complains about a 1 party rule, but if he had his way, the Republican fundamenalist bigots would be in absolute control of everything, including our private lives!

    February 19, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. j

    I hope all the "No We Can't" Grand Obstructionist Party members get booted out of office. They're playing dirty politics at a time when our country desperately needs everyone to put differences aside and work for the good of the country. The Republicans are continuing what GW Bush started, running this country into the ground.

    February 19, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. Republicans = window lickers

    What a toad. I guess he feels the American people's voice doesn't matter. It's the GOPigs voice that really matters. American people voted in overwhelming numbers and the message is clear. NO MORE WINDOW LICKERS IN DC.

    February 19, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  17. Theresa

    Changing the package will not affect the content. Republicans do not believe what Steele is saying and it will be apparent in their policies. Putting a black man as the face of your party does not change the fact that Republicans do not believe in an open tent. Having Jindahl rebut President Obama's speech will not change the message of exclusion!

    February 19, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. Charles

    Last I checked, I am hardworking (50 hours a week architect), pay my taxes (early every year), and want solutions to the economic and ongoing terrorist (and other) international problems. I also believe in Obama and voted for various Democrats. Can't we disagree without implying that only one point of view has the monopoly on these concerns and charactor traits?

    February 19, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  19. Anna, Missouri

    So he thinks that we want the "Party of No" to continue their partisan politics? His son was so disliked as a governor, he had the brains to not even run for a second term. It will be a pleasure to vote against him in the primary, and then vote for Robin Carnahan in the general election! We do not have to register to a political party in Missouri, so we can vote in which ever primary we want to.

    February 19, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. Laura, Boston

    Roy Blunt has experience that I know of since he has been in Congress. I also recognize the Carnahan name since her mother was Senator for two years; but, my question is what experience does Robin Carnahan have other than being the Secretary of State of Missouri.

    I remember another secretary of state that ran for Congress, won and 2 years later was defeated....Katherine Harris of FL.

    Does Robin have any other experience in politics. We all know that coming from a political family doesn't qualify you. (i.e. George W. Bush, Caroline Kennedy)

    February 19, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Not so fast. Blunt is very much a Southwest Missouri candidate and has very little name recognition outside of the 7th Congressional district. Furthermore his son left the governship basically in shambles. Therefore when he is challenge by Sarah Steelman who has held state wide office and is very popular, Blunt will have a very hard time getting his own party's nomination. This article was clearly written by someone who knows little to nothing about Missouri politics.

    February 19, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  22. sandee in Portland

    Too bad he doesn't practice what he preaches. Obviously he hasn't been listening to the American people, only to his fellow republicans.

    February 19, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Obama is out door to door taking his messages directly o the people through trips to different cities and email messages in an effort to hear from people who work hard, pay their taxes, and want solutions to urgent economic problems and the ongoing threat of terrorism. The Republicans in both houses are not only opposition they're obstructionist. Their motto is still my way or the highway. Unless they change their tactics and follow in line with the lonely three Repub Senators who actually worked on the stimulus bill, Obama will win out because he is going over the heads of the stubborn and conversing directly with the public.

    February 19, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. Joe

    His reasoning is to keep Democrats from running Congress??? Shouldn't his reaons be, 'I have better ideas', 'I can lead in a better way', 'I can help the country get better'? Aren't we just proud of the characters we are trusting to 'lead' this country. Shame on you and the ignorant people that elect you!!!

    February 19, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. mary dale

    who cares

    February 19, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
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