Missouri: Bond Backs Blunt as Schweich Emerges

Posted May 11, 2009 at 5:58pm

The name of another possible Republican Senate candidate has emerged in the Show Me State: Tom Schweich.

Schweich is a former ambassador for counternarcotics and justice reform in Afghanistan under President George W. Bush. He has been encouraged to enter the open-seat GOP race — which already features Rep. Roy Blunt and is likely to also include former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman — by prominent state Republicans unhappy with Blunt’s candidacy, a Missouri television station political blog reported Monday.

Among those encouraging Schweich are former Sen. John Danforth (R) and former ambassador to Belgium Sam Fox. Schweich said he likes Blunt personally, but that holding the seat next November is his foremost concern.

“I am really concerned about having two Democratic Senators and a Democratic Governor and that as Republicans we would be shut out of the top leadership in our state,— he said in an interview with the KY3 political blog. “It’s an unbalanced situation for our state and our country. We need to think carefully about who can beat [Secretary of State] Robin Carnahan. To the extent that I would make it easier to do that, I would run.—

Blunt on Friday picked up the endorsement of the man he hopes to replace in the Senate come 2011.

“I have known and worked with Roy for many years and he is the same man in Washington as he is in Missouri, the same man in private as he is in public,— retiring Sen. Kit Bond (R) said in a statement released by the Blunt campaign. “I will do everything I can to support his candidacy.—

Bond also picked up the endorsement of Rep. Jo Ann Emerson on Friday, so he now has the support of all of the state’s GOP Congressional delegation.

Steelman has been laying the groundwork for her own Senate bid, and she is viewed as likely to enter the race.

She has embraced the role as a Washington outsider. Over the weekend, her husband, David Steelman, a prominent lawyer in the state, was highly critical of the state’s GOP establishment in an editorial that appeared in several local newspapers.

“In Missouri, the Republican establishment,’ a cabal of officials, lobbyists, consultants and advisors, has since 2000 prevented the nomination of any Republican for governor or U.S. Senate who was not a Member of Congress, a former Member, or the son of a Member,— he wrote. “If change is possible, it will come from grassroots Republicans who no longer support candidates simply because they are the lesser of two evils, and who expect solutions as well as obstruction.—

The GOP nominee will face Carnahan, who has been held up as a top recruit by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.