In a crowded GOP primary field in the 2022 race to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt says his efforts in taking on what he calls the “really radical” agenda of President Biden’s administration is making his campaign stand out.
Schmitt, who’s won two statewide elections in Missouri – for treasurer and then attorney general – has made headlines this year filing lawsuits against the Biden administration.
“I think people also appreciate the work we’re doing in the AG’s office, aggressively pushing back against the Biden administration. People have noticed that,” Schmitt said in an interview with Fox News on Saturday, in between meetings as he made the rounds at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas.
“There’s no AG in the country, I don’t think, that’s working as hard to pushback against this really radical agenda,” Schmitt touted. “I think people are recognizing that.”
Schmitt’s part of a packed roster of contenders for the GOP nomination that includes former Gov. Eric Greitens – who left office in 2018 amid multiple controversies – Rep.Vicky Hartzler in Missouri’s 4th Congressional District, in the predominantly rural west-central part of the state, and Mark McCloskey, the St. Louis attorney who along with his wife grabbed national headlines during the summer of 2020 for holding guns outside their home to warn off Black Lives Matter protesters.
And the Republican primary field may grow in the coming months, with Reps. Billy Long, Jason Smith and Ann Wagner all considering bids.
In many ways, the GOP Senate contest has been a race to embrace former President Donald Trump, who remains extremely popular with Republican base voters as he continues to play a kingmaker’s role in party politics and repeatedly flirts with another White House run in 2024.
The former president remains neutral so far in the showdown, but a Trump endorsement would have a major impact on the Missouri contest, as it is in other competitive Republican primaries in the 2022 election cycle.
“I fought alongside President Trump on the America First agenda as attorney general when he was in office,” Schmitt pointed out. “I was the first statewide elected official in the country to come out in favor of the tax cuts, making sure the border was secure. We were defending all those policies in court as AG. And now I’m spending a lot of my time pushing back against the radical Biden agenda that seeks to tear all that progress down.”
And he argued that “I think we’re very well positioned as the America First/Missouri First candidate.”
Schmitt announced last week that he raised $1.3 million in fundraising since announcing his candidacy in late March, which he called “record-breaking in Missouri.”
While Greitens is the largest draw to date in the GOP primary race, some Republicans are concerned about this political baggage. Asked about his rival for the nomination, Schmitt told Fox News “I think people across the country and in Missouri want to make sure we can win not just the primary but the general.”
And he highlighted that he thinks he’s “best positioned to win not just in August of next year but in November.”
Missouri was once a competitive state, but has trended Republican in recent decades.
President Bill Clinton in 1996 was the last Democrat to win the state in the race for the White House, and then-Sen. Claire McCaskill’s 2012 victory was the last time a Democrat won a Senate election in the state. Trump won the state by 18 points in 2016 and 16 points last November.
Former state Sen. Scott Sifton, former Marine Lucas Kunce, and former congressional nominee Gena Ross are among the Democrats who have launched campaigns. And a handful of other Democrats, including Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, are weighing bids.
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