Missouri: Gov. Blunt’s Withdrawal Scrambles State Politics

Posted January 22, 2008 at 6:44pm

Gov. Matt Blunt (R), the 37-year-old son of House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R), shook up state politics Tuesday, announcing that he will not run for re-election later this year.

“The habit of politicians is to remain in office and the desire to prove oneself in the next election is strong, but after a great deal of thought and prayer and with the knowledge that we’ve achieved nearly everything that I set out to accomplish and more, I will not seek a second term in the upcoming election,” Blunt said late Tuesday in a video widely circulating on the Internet.

The younger Blunt, who was facing a tough re-election bid against state Attorney General Jay Nixon (D), has been locked in a prolonged ethics battle with Show Me State Democrats, who may find themselves muttering “beware what you wish for” now that the vulnerable incumbent is off the 2008 ballot.

Republicans in the state have until Aug. 18 to slate other candidates, a potential field that may include recently ousted Sen. Jim Talent, who now works for ex-Gov. Mitt Romney’s (R-Mass.) presidential campaign, or Rep. Kenny Hulshof, who recently was passed over for the top job at the University of Missouri.

The elder Blunt said in a statement late Tuesday that he is “proud of the job Matt has done for our state. Under his leadership, Missouri went from a state that consistently lost jobs to a state that consistently created them — all while creating new opportunities for people of all walks of life.”

“I respect his decision to spend this year being the best governor he can be in service of our state and its people, rather than letting the focus shift to pure politics,” the elder Blunt continued.
— Matthew Murray