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Kehoe announces 2024 gubernatorial run, forgoing US Senate bid

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Instead of making a bid for Roy Blunt’s U.S. Senate seat in 2022, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe said he will run for governor in 2024. 

Kehoe, 59, made the announcement Monday morning. 

“I am humbled to know so many Missourians see an even greater leadership role for me in Missouri,” Kehoe said. “I will continue to use my years of job-creating business experience, what I have learned on the farm, in leading for conservative views and values in the state Senate, and now as lieutenant governor to increase opportunity, freedom, and security for all Missourians.”

“I will work to unify the party behind a strong nominee committed to representing Missouri’s conservative, common-sense views and values in the United States Senate,” he continued. “While Claudia and I have been honored by the encouragement and offers of support for me to serve as Missouri’s next U.S. Senator, my true calling remains to work on behalf of Missourians in Missouri as lieutenant governor and as candidate for governor in 2024.” 

Blunt, the Republican senior senator, announced he would not run for re-election earlier this month, setting off a flurry of speculation of who might replace him. Kehoe had initially said he would “spend some time talking with family, friends, and supporters about how I can best contribute to the future of our great state.” 

Kehoe has served as Missouri’s lieutenant governor since his appointment in June 2018. He handily won his election to the seat in 2020. 

Prior to joining the executive branch, Kehoe rose to a leadership position within the state Senate where he represented Cole, Gasconade, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan, and Osage counties as a Republican. He also chaired a variety of committees, including the Senate Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions, and Ethics Committee, while in the upper chamber. 

Born in St. Louis, Kehoe worked his way from car washing to sales management at a dealership growing up. By the time he was 25 years old, he was running Osage Industries in Linn. And in 1992, he started a Ford-Lincoln auto dealership in Jefferson City. Kehoe is also a first-generation farmer, previously telling The Missouri Times he’s responsible for cattle and hay on his farm.