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Long vows to ‘get real and serious’ about US Senate race as he takes shots at opponents

Congressman Billy Long vowed to “get real and serious” about his race for U.S. Senate, holding a rally in Springfield where he took jabs at his GOP opponents and announced a new endorsement.

“It’s time we get real and serious about this race,” Long said in a statement prior to the event. “My opponents spill out phony or shock-the-conscience talking points to try and make themselves seem conservative. I’m the one candidate in this race that has been consistently and reliably conservative.” 

In an interview with The Missouri Times following the event, Long said he plans to visit every county and county courthouse in Missouri as he campaigns. He said he will also attend as many events and local GOP meetings as his schedule will allow and called for a debate among the Republican candidates. 

Aside from Long, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, former Gov. Eric Greitens, state Sen. Dave Schatz, and attorney Mark McCloskey are all vying for the Republican nomination to replace outgoing Senator Roy Blunt. 

“I don’t see any of the Erics on the campaign trail anywhere. I think it’s time they start campaigning in Missouri, and we can have discussions and debate,” Long said. “I’m working the ground game, and they’re working the 30,000-foot game. I plan on building grassroots support and that’s why I have Kimberly’s backing and a couple of other ladies who attended today who work with Moms for America.” 

Kimberly Fletcher, president and founder of Moms for America, joined Long in Southwest Missouri Tuesday to announce her backing of the congressman. Fletcher said Long would be a “fighter” for Missourians in Washington, D.C. 

Moms for America is a nonprofit organization that promotes “the principles of liberty and virtue … in the home and family, particularly through the women and mothers of America,” according to its website. Fletcher was recently subpoenaed by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots. 

Long said he planned to be the first in line to officially file to run in the race, promising those gathered at the White River Conference Center that he’s “in it to win it.” 

But as he promised to “get real” about the race, Long also took the time to castigate his fellow GOP candidates. 

Long called Greitens a “pretty unremarkable governor” and said internal polling showed a majority of voters unable to identify “one single accomplishment” from his time as Missouri’s chief executive. 

“It’s OK to fly at 30,000 feet and campaign all over the United States and not show up in Missouri, not come to Lincoln Days, not come to Pachyderm Club, and maybe that’s the way you get elected. Maybe you look better from afar,” Long said. 

“His problems were not a witchhunt. His problems were those he brought on himself,” Long continued. “Eric Greitens is fighting for himself, and I’m fighting for you all. … Nobody wants Eric Greitens to be the nominee more than [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer and our president.” 

Long criticized Attorney General Eric Schmitt for his support of initiatives that would have supported Chinese businesses, such as the since-defunct plan to use tax credits to entice China to build a hub a the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. He also took a jab at Schmitt’s lawsuits, quipping that he calls him “Dr. Suess because he sues everybody.” 

And as for Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, Long said he had a higher rating among conservative groups like the American Conservative Union than her. 

Moms for American coming to Missouri 

During the event, Fletcher announced Moms for America would be relocating its headquarters to the 7th congressional district. On its website, the group lists Englewood, Ohio, as its national corporate address. 

“The reason why is because as I’ve been down in this area, not only is it absolutely beautiful … it is a place that loves America,” Fletcher said. 

Long said he encouraged those running to replace him in the 7th congressional district to attend his event Tuesday to meet with Fletcher. He said former Sen. Jay Wasson and Sam Alexander were in attendance and said he did not plan to endorse in the race. 

“We need fighters in Washington, D.C., and I need fighters for me on this campaign, and Kimberly Fletcher is going to be a fighter,” Long said.