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AG Schmitt officially jumps into Senate race

  

After weeks of speculation, Attorney General Eric Schmitt officially jumped into the U.S. Senate race Wednesday morning to replace Senator Roy Blunt

Schmitt has deftly risen through the ranks of Missouri politics, from alderman to state senator to state treasurer. After Josh Hawley was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018, Gov. Mike Parson appointed him attorney general. Schmitt handily defeated his Democratic opponent in November to remain in office. The Missouri Times reported earlier this month that he was expected to join the fray of those running for Blunt’s seat. 

In announcing his candidacy on Fox News, Schmitt touted his efforts in office to defend former President Donald Trump’s policies during the fledgling Biden administration. 

“I am fighting every day to protect and defend our constitution in my service to Missourians as their attorney general. I fought alongside President Trump in defending election integrity, championing pro-growth economic policy, protecting our energy independence, and standing up to radical prosecutors who have allowed violent crime to rule our cities instead of upholding the rule of law,” Schmitt said in a statement. “As attorney general, I’ve already sued the Biden administration and I’m going to keep suing Joe Biden to protect all Missourians when necessary. I’ve been holding the Biden administration and the Democrats accountable on important issues like border security, the Second Amendment, and regulations that cripple our economy.  

“In the U.S. Senate, I will continue the fight to preserve the conservative policies championed by President Trump that built the strongest economy in American history,” he said. 

It was a tale of two Erics this week when it came to the U.S. Senate seat. Former Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned in 2018 amid sexual misconduct and campaign finance violation allegations, mounted his political comeback by announcing on Fox News his candidacy for the seat earlier this week. He also touted his commitment to advancing the former president’s agenda and promoted an endorsement from Trump’s attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, on social media. 

During his tenure in the General Assembly, Schmitt is known for, perhaps more than anything, championing SB 5 which lowered just how much money the state could generate from traffic tickets and other violations. The bill came in response to the events of Ferguson. 

Schmitt’s catalyst for his role in public service, especially as the state’s attorney general, is his son. Stephen was born in 2004 with a rare genetic condition — tuberous sclerosis — which causes tumors to develop on a person’s organs. For Stephen, tumors have grown on multiple organs, including his kidneys, heart, and brain. It’s the latter of those that manifested the most challenges for Stephen, including seizures and epilepsy. 

Schmitt, a lawyer, first entered public policy as the alderman for Glendale (about 10 miles west of St. Louis). He then successfully ran for state Senate in what was then the 15th district, a swing district, and served in the General Assembly for eight years. 

Due to term limits, Schmitt couldn’t run for the Senate again so he set his sights on a statewide office, winning the election for state treasurer in 2016. With the resignation of Greitens in 2018, shaking up Missouri’s executive branch, Schmitt was appointed the state’s chief legal officer.

As attorney general, Schmitt has also touted his office’s push to test the thousands of untested rape kits in the state to “honor the courage” of victims who have reported heinous crimes. Aside from testing them, his office is establishing a protocol for how to handle the kits.

Schmitt joined 11 other state attorneys general in a suit against the Biden administration earlier this month, fighting an executive order enacted by the new president. 

Executive Order 13990, signed in January, revoked a number of policies from the Trump administration while mandating their review. It also underscored the White House’s focus on clean energy and the environment. The coalition contested the expansion of federal regulations through the executive order, pointing to the potential impacts the mandates could have on various industries.

“Manufacturing, agriculture, and energy production are essential to Missouri’s economy and employ thousands of hard-working Missourians across the state,” Schmitt said in a statement. “From higher energy bills to lost jobs, this massive expansion of federal regulatory power has the potential to impact nearly every household in this state — that’s why today I’m leading a coalition of states to put a stop to this executive order and protect Missouri families.”

He also recently joined 20 other state attorneys general on a suit against the Biden administration for the revocation of the Keystone XL Pipeline on March 17. The suit argued the administration did not have the authority to cancel the permit under the U.S. Constitution and violated the separation of powers by making a move relegated to Congress.

And he led 18 states in a letter asking the president to reverse the cancellation of Operation Talon, an ICE initiative focused on removing illegally present sexual offenders from the country in February. The letter argued the program’s cancellation could encourage predators seeking to illegally enter the country and exacerbate human trafficking. 

Cameron Gerber contributed to this report.