(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."
Would be nice if average citizens had a chance to run for office. Or a third party would be nice.
I am from Missouri, and I'm thrilled that I'll get to vote in this upcoming election.
No way will I vote for Blunt. His son was a disaster as Missouri governor, and the elder Blunt has not done anything to impress me during all his years as a rep.
As for his running on the platform of eliminating "one-party rule," I see his point. But I'd vote for some Independent (or anyone else) before voting him into the Senate.
That being said, he will do very well in this race. As always, it'll be a close one.
Wow, did the Republicans sing a different tune when THEY controlled the House and Senate. How much "open debate" occurred during most of W's terms?
As a african american i think the republican party means well but it's directed in the wrong direction. They should appeal to their base ideals. Alot of minorities are conservative. The slang....is just a bad example and it will farther disenfranchise african americans by making them feel like a party has to dumb themselves down to make a connection.
Why does he think Pres. Obama is going around the country-so he can hear the questions and concerns of the people. He certainly can't hear them sitting in Washington all the time.
"Common sense and open debate are in danger of being suppressed by the overreaching liberal monopoly"
Considering what the Republican crooks have done recently, Blunt's statement is an insult to the American people. No president has lied, misled and manipulated the public more than W.Bush.
Shall we number all the GOPs that got below-market loans, or even stuff for free? Remember Ted Stevens? Many politicians and even just wealthy people can get below-market loans...it is a part of the irony of this country that the people who least need special treatment are the ones who get it. It is a bi-partisan situation, that happens every day, in every city, in every state. No laws were violated...as stated by the FEC. So we are to accept that when Sarah Palin is found guilty of ethics violations but didn't violate a law it is OK, but when President Obama, at the time only a Senator and not even running for President, didn't violate a law but got something you couldn't, you want to hold him accountable for it anyway? Get real.
I am from Missouri............NO on Blunt
Throw turds at the Democrats? Gee, adult is that? Grow up. It isn't always a choice between conservative and liberal. I'm a fiscal conservative who was appalled at what Bush did to this country. Not only his financially irresponsible behavior in favoring the few and the large corps, but his throwing away of more than 4000 American lives.
All Americans need to stop thinking in terms of labels: Republican vs Democrat, conservative vs liberal, right-wing vs. left-wing. If you really start to analyze people's true beliefs, very few actually fall into a single label. Instead of throwing names at each other, hoping that the names will hurt and somehow win the argument, we need to start considering how to sit down and discuss issues rationally and without bile, prejudice, and labels. Compromise is not a dirty word...it is how people should deal with differing opinions and beliefs.
We have major issues facing us, and we haven't seen the end of them yet. Unless we can work together, seeking to go beyond labels and sound bites, we will fall. It is as simple as that.
HaHa....Big loser that what it sounds like, all over again, get over your party it's about the country not your obstructionist party!
RE: FEC–that was brought out some time ago-don't remember the details, but it was supposedly explained to most people's satisfaction.
Funny how Republicans seem to have a double standard. Blunt didn't seem to worry about one party rule when the Republicans had both houses and the white house but now democracy is in danger with the Dems in the White House and House of Reps. Just like Rep. Issa's letter to the White House about making sure all White House e-mails are saved. Funny how I never heard boo from any Republican when the Bush Admin. "lost" (more like destroyed evidence) millions of e-mails. I hope Blunt loses, not because he is a Republican, but because he is a hypocrite and crook...well I guess that is the same as a Republican these days. I feel sorry for the few honest Republicans having to carry the same party name with people like Blunt.
Personally I feel bad for Missouri. The choice is a dynasty or a dynasty! I too wish regular folks can run for office but the way things are set up, only millionaires and billionaires can run for anything and none of them can relate to regular folks, ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE!
To Jackie in Dallas.
It always amuses me when Liberals, or supposed "fiscal Conservatives" yammer on about how Bush killed 4,000+ American soldiers with the Iraq war, yet don't even bat an eye at the 40 Million plus killed through abortion. What a bunch of hypocrites!
they really have thick skin.
Well Mr. Blunt....I bet you didn't mind one party rule when the GOP was in majority...
NICK < ARE YOU FROM MISSOURI.
WE HAVE JUST GOT A NEW GOVENOR. CORRECT , AN HE HELD THE JOB OF ( OR AS ) THE ATTORNEY GENERAL .
BETWEEN HIM AND OBAMA , THEY ARE THE GREATS PAIR OF OUT RIGHT LIARS .
WHY FOR I HAD DEALINGS WITH THIS , FLIP FLOPPER , AND YES , DONE NOT ONE THING FOR ME EXCEPT COST ME THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS AN 31/2 YEARS OF SLEEPLESS NITES . AN TO THIS DAY , THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM , IN MISSOURI HAS A REAL BAD ODOR.
SO I SAY TO YOU , KEEP YOUR OBAMA AN THE PELOSI BUNCH . NEXT ROUND OF HAND OUTS, TRY THE CC CAMP . OR SIGN UP FOR WPA.. ENJOY YOUR STIMILUS , MAYBE YOU ARE THE ONE THAT GOT MINE ???? LIARS STICK TOGETHER .
Some of you don't appear to understand politics at all. If you think one side is going to make it easy for the other to get or mainain control you must be from cloud cookoo land.
Did Obie cause the sky to fall? If not, who cares.
To Ex Republican
Tax cuts = deeper sauna of quicksand of slow moving death for us all to bathe in... hee..hee..
First and foremost, if you love America, you will pay more taxes and ask our government fo be more responsible.
So this clown thinks the past 8 years of Republican rule were all about "open debate" and "common sense"? Give me a break! The Republican Party pretty much wrote the book on all things "overreaching"! Is this guys name Blunt or is that what he's been smoking?
I dont know whats going in my home state anymore. They elected a dead guy and the guy who lost to the dead guy became A.G of the whole country. I dont know who is dumber my state or the whole country.
why don't you run on a platform of helping get the economy going
GOPers are such 'us and them'
There are greater issues than being the opposite to the democratic party
The U.S. is in a recession, how about fixing some of the problems