JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Retiring Republican Sen. Roy Blunt said, for now, he does not plan on endorsing a candidate to fill his seat in Washington D.C.
Less than 24 hours after more than 20 candidates filed paperwork to place Blunt, he said he would support the Republican nominee, but he doesn’t want to get involved in the race if he doesn’t have to.
“I would prefer it work itself out,” Blunt said Wednesday. “I’ve got lots of people in the race, in that competition that have been helpful to me and that I’ve been helpful too.”
After 50 years of public service to Missourians, Blunt is retiring, which means there will be a new face representing Missouri in Washington.
“Missouri is truly where the country comes together,” Blunt said. “I’m going to support the Republican nominee and I think of terms of endorsement, what I’ve said is I hope not to get involved.”
After the first day of filing closed, 15 Republicans and eight Democrats filed Tuesday at the Secretary of State’s Office in Jefferson City to fill Blunt’s seat. One of those candidates is Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, who was endorsed by U.S. Senator Josh Hawley last week.
Opening day of filing, Hartzler made it clear she would not vote for former Gov. Eric Greitens if he was the Republican nominee.
Attorney General Eric Schmitt also said it would be up to Greitens to explain to Missourians why he resigned since questions have been left unanswered.
Blunt left the question of if he would vote for Greitens unanswered, and only said he would support the Republican nominee.
“At a national level, we’ve fallen into a place in the last decade where too many people run for office saying here’s what I’m going to be for and if I don’t get that, then I won’t accept anybody else or anything else,” Blunt said.
Blunt spent his Wednesday morning addressing the Missouri House of Representatives, something he said he has done 11 times over the last 12 years.
“You’re going to enjoy it here a lot more if you’ll just start with belief that everybody else here is as well motivated as you are,” Blunt told representatives. “People can have different ideas without being evil, there’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with people’s points of view, but start doing that understanding that everybody got here to do the right thing.”
He started off his speech by making a joke about Senators across the building.
“I know you got a lot going on, pry the last thing you need is one more senator slowing down,” Blunt said as the chamber filled with laughter.
Over in the upper chamber, members are still struggling to get along. Senators still haven’t found a compromise on passing a congressional map and have spent more time filibustering than debating bills on the floor. But when asked, Blunt didn’t offer guidance.
“My determination over the last 25 years, not to give a lot of advice to the people in Jefferson City about how they should do their job until all the federal problems are solved.”
The senior senator also told reporters after his meeting with the House, he’s concerned about escalating conflict in Ukraine.
“I think the potential we are going to see here is there is some consumer impact, but the thing I would be more concerned about is the cyber impact,” Blunt said. “The Russia economy does impact world energy prices but so do the Biden policies.”
He said he believes the U.S. should have issued sanctions earlier because Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is not intimidated.
“I’m very worried that Putin is now seeing how much he can get away with, with penalties he can accept,” Blunt said. “I think we need to send every message possible.”
Blunt also discussed with representatives the importance of expanding broadband in the state by using federal infrastructure money. He told reporters 25% of rural Missouri families don’t have access at all.
“That’s just no longer acceptable,” Blunt said.