MISSOURI – John Wood has dropped out of the Missouri U.S. Senate race less than two months after announcing a campaign as an independent candidate.
Wood will no longer run against Republican Eric Schmitt or Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine for a soon-to-be vacant U.S. seat. The winner of the Nov. 8 general election will join Josh Hawley as Missouri’s second United State senator and replace outgoing senator Roy Blunt.
Wood released a statement Tuesday announcing he had initially launched his campaign when Eric Greitens was the favorite for the Republican nomination. He says circumstances have changed since the primary election and he withdraws with Greitens no longer in the running for the seat.
“While my campaign for the US Senate is ending, my fight for our democracy is not. I will continue to stand up for our democratic republic and oppose those who prioritize party and self-interest over the needs of our country however I can,” Wood said in a statement Tuesday on his decision to withdraw.
Wood, 52, served as U.S. attorney for Missouri’s Western District from 2007 to 2009 and before that held key roles in the George W. Bush administration. He was working as general counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce when he stepped down in September to become senior investigative counsel for the Jan. 6 committee.
Republican consultant and FOX 2 political commentator John Hancock said Tuesday’s announcement was somewhat of a surprise.
“Wood was continuing to run advertising after the primary so, I don’t think this was a decision that was made ahead of time,” Hancock said.
Hancock said Wood’s presence in the race could have ended up splitting the republican vote and helping Valentine.
“She essentially had two republican candidates in there to siphon votes from one another and she was going to fill up the democratic vote bucket,” he said.
Wood received 22,000 signatures on a petition to launch a campaign as an independent candidate. Despite his push, he said his campaign would have dealt with challenges in the November general election.
“While I have significant differences of opinion with both the Republican and Democratic nominees, it has become evident there is not a realistic path to victory for me as an independent candidate,” said Wood. “While my candidacy is ending, my commitment to these causes endures. I will continue to work in other ways to promote these causes, which are dear to my heart.”
Hawley and Blunt, meanwhile, have endorsed Schmitt in the race to fill Blunt’s seat. Hancock said he expects Schmitt will have a clearer path to victory.
No additional U.S. Senate endorsements have yet been announced for Valentine. However, Valentine’s camp released a statement maintaining there’s still a clear choice in November, calling Schmitt a “ladder-climbing career politician” and inviting independent-minded Missourians to join her campaign.