Senate Republicans have a narrow path to winning the majority in 2022. Each party holds 50 seats in the current Senate, and while the GOP has a few opportunities to seize Democratic-held seats, they’re playing defense in more states.
Therefore, picking the right candidate to replace the retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) is mission critical. That is why sirens are slowly going off as former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) moves closer to a 2022 Senate bid. Greitens resigned in mid-2018, less than two years into his term, following allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman.
The maneuvering, which follows Blunt’s surprise retirement announcement last week, is giving Republicans nightmarish flashbacks to 2012, when they nominated a problematic Missouri Senate candidate, Todd Akin, who went on to lose the election.
Missouri insiders suggest that Greitens would be the one GOP candidate who could lose to a Democrat. A December survey of likely Republican primary voters, conducted by Remington Research Group, found Greitens trailing Blunt 43 percent to 32 percent, indicating that he maintains a base.
Other candidates, in what is expected to be a wide-open field of Republicans, to fill Blunt’s seat include Reps. Ann Wagner (R-MO), Jason Smith (R-MO) and Billy Long (R-MO) and state Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R).
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft — the son of John Ashcroft, the former governor, senator and Bush-era attorney general — was regarded as someone who could have consolidated the party behind him but has so far opted against running.
Market Pulse: Ashcroft was the early favorite at 35¢ on day one of trading in this market, but has since dropped to just 2¢ after saying he wouldn’t run. Schmitt has seen his odds go the other direction, shifting from 7¢ after opening day to 44¢ as of close yesterday. Schmitt leads the next most likely candidate, former Gov. Greitens, by 25¢. Greitens is priced at 19¢, 5¢ above Smith in third place at 14¢.