A string of GOP elected officials have announced in recent weeks that they will not be seeking re-election in next year’s midterm races.
According to reports, the latest high-profile Republican to make such an announcement is U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO).
“Thank you, Missourians”
In a video posted online this week, he revealed his intention to step aside ahead of the upcoming primary election season.
The fifth Senate Republican to make a retirement announcement thus far, Blunt’s news comes as his party is focused on regaining a majority in both chambers of Congress. He made it clear this week that the GOP would not be working toward that goal with his name on the ballot.
“After 14 general election victories — three to county office, seven to the United States House of Representatives, and four statewide elections — I won’t be a candidate for re-election to the United States Senate next year,” he told supporters.
The longtime lawmaker currently serves as the fourth-highest ranking member of his party in the Senate.
Thank you, Missourians, for the opportunity to work for you and a better future for our state and our country. pic.twitter.com/1GjX74zhZB
— Senator Roy Blunt (@RoyBlunt) March 8, 2021
“It’s no surprise”
While the 71-year-old senator’s decision to retire is understandable on a personal level, it is likely to put his party at a statistical disadvantage next year since incumbents typically have the upper hand in elections — especially in states where their party is already favored to win.
Considering his leadership role and allegiance to Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), The Hill noted that members of the party who are not fully aligned with the populist shift brought about following former President Donald Trump’s 2016 White House bid are steadily diminishing in numbers on Capitol Hill.
Blunt’s surprise retirement announcement comes at a precarious time, however, with the Senate evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.
If his party manages to flip even one seat next year, it would amount to a massive setback for the Democratic Party’s plans to push through President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda.
The true impetus for Blunt’s move might never be completely known, but Republican strategist Ron Bonjean has an idea, explaining: “After we lost the presidential election and Democrats are running the show in Washington, it’s no surprise we’re going to see some retirements from senior Republicans who were used to having a lot more control.”