(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."
A bushy/cheney/abramoff blunt..........oh boy...........
I hope he runs so we can get another senate seat and clean up the mess that Bush made.
He's running on a platform of obstructionism rather than representation for the people of Missouri!?!?! Someone throw shoes at this clown.
This guy is under investigation and is a criminal just like 90% of the GOP now – but it seems since MI didn't vote for Obama they are on the verge of joining the new confederate party of the white hood boys. Let's hope the fact the white hood party is still trying to destroy America the people suffering in MI will kick them out.
Bond never did much in the Senate. Blount did nothing in the House.
GOP Pitch to Voters: Fill mighty small shoes with someone with mighty small feet.
That would also apply to 6 years of the prior president, too, unless Mr. Blunt is a hardened partisan.
Blunt...is that his name,his way of speaking or the top of his head?
I agree whole heartly with congressman Blunt. Look what his parties total control of government did to our great nation. The big problem with Senator Blunt is he is just another Kit Bond. A big mouth and a closed mind.
Sure, Blunt is a very credible for the GOP candidate but he should still face a hell of a race from Robin Carnahan. THe latest poll has Carnahan narrowly LEADING Blunt.
There is no way Missouri will elect another Carnahan. One is enough, and she isn't even doing a good job for her state.
This is a waste of time, no way is Roy Bunt is getting elected, Im waiting on the day of elections for Miss Carahan, this guy needs to get a life.
He's right, one party rule is never a good thing. Yeah Roy Blunt for Senate!!!
Just what America needs, another recycled racist neocon.
Given the responses of the liberal elite that I see on these forum boards, I'm thinking it's time I start throw turds at Democrats again.
Checks are not something you want to give to those that have no credit! And The GOP's definition of ballance is what the do once they have all the weight on their side of the scale. These Regional guys crack me up, HAAAAAAAAAA.
"My sense is Missourians and Americans are not well served by one-party rule."
REALLY???! Really?? Well, it seemed to serve you all well enough when the Repugnants were the "one party" doing the ruling!! Didn't it?
Well...here's a news flash for you! The American people have had a belly full of you lot! And WE like it the way it is now! That's why Repugnants are OUT, and the Democrats are IN!!
And for your information Sir, we, the American people...Democrats Liberals, Progressives, AND Republicans ARE the "people who work hard, pay their taxes, and want solutions to urgent economic problems and the ongoing threat of terrorism." That's first thing you idiots in Washington need to learn!
Please we do not need another do nothing vote "NO" on everything that the President needs to get us out of another "Republican Depression".
Please do not vote for this Republican vote Dem to get this country moving again. We have had it with the Republicans!
"Given the responses of the liberal elite that I see on these forum boards, I'm thinking it's time I start throw turds at Democrats again."
To WILLIE: We rather you "threw" them...than ELECTED them!
YEAH BOYEEEEEE!!! Trizzle-dizzle economizzle and the tax-to-the-cuts yo!!!!
This is too funny. I'll vote for Carnahan. A whole bunch of people voted for her father over another republican (Ashcroft), and Mr. Carnahad had died in a plane crash before the election...
The fearmongering about one party control is ridiculous. The "balance" only occurs when BOTH parties sit down with the intention of being reasonable. The GOP has NO intention of doing any such thing and this was proven by their constant rebuffing of Obama's bipartisan overtures and attempts to engage them in the discussion regarding the stimulus: they simply stuck to their disproven ideology and insisted that we either accept more of it or they will try to block us from doing anything.
Missourians remember what he did and not to Mention is Son "Matt Blunt" no Way Joker!
"My sense is Missourians and Americans are not well served by one-party rule," Blunt said. "It's sort of like when Bush and Cheny were running things after 911, except that it's Democrats in charge, and that's just not ok. The only one party system we're in favor of is our own one party..."
The GOP doesn't get it.
Until or unless you start offering solution to the problems that face the nation you will never win.
You can't just be the party of NO, you must offer an alternative.
You can't rely on your republican conservative principles, they have been tried, weighed and measured and found lacking.
Image is nothing, substance is everything.
So where was this great need for "control over one-party rule" in 2001? Republicans had a majority in the House, the Senate, and had the White House.
I understand the need for checks and balances...if that is the true desire of the GOP. What I feel it is, instead, is the grasping of a party out of favor, and out of luck, to get their power back and to be as obstructionistic as possible. If I were this Republican candidate, I think I'd find some issues of real substance to run on, and hope that his platform speaks for him, rather than sheer numbers in the makeup of the Congress!