Like other GOP candidates Attorney General Eric Schmitt and former Gov. Eric Greitens, McCloskey made his long-rumored campaign official with an appearance on Fox News, blasting what he called the “wholesale slaughter of our civil liberties” under the current administration.
But in both his TV appearance and campaign ad, McCloskey referenced the protestors that demonstrated near his house last summer after the murder of George Floyd.
“God came knocking on my door last summer disguised as an angry mob, and it really did wake me up. And as I campaigned for [former President Donald Trump] last fall, and as we’ve continued to do rallies and events supporting our constitutional rights, what I’ve learned is that people out there in our country [are] just sick and tired of cancel culture and the poison of critical race theory and the big lie of systemic racism — all backed up by the threat of mob violence,” McCloskey told host Tucker Carlson.
“Everything has been upside down, and it’s time to straighten things back up,” he said.
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt announced he would not seek re-election in March, setting off a flurry of speculation of just who could replace him. Aside from the three Republicans who have formally announced, most of Missouri’s Republican congressional delegation are considering runs, including Congressman Jason Smith and Congresswoman Ann Wagner.
Following the now-infamous incident when McCloskey and his wife, Patricia, brandished firearms and waved them at demonstrators, the couple was both charged with unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with evidence. They have pleaded not guilty.
McCloskey jumping into the race is expected to hurt one Republican candidate in particular: Greitens. The two are campaigning more to the right and have similar followings in the state — and McCloskey undercuts Greitens’ “outsider” message.
An angry mob marched to destroy my home and kill my family, I took a stand to defend them.
I am a proven fighter against the mob
When the mob comes to destroy our home, our state, our nation— I’ll defend it
I will NEVER BACK DOWN
— Mark McCloskey (@Mark__McCloskey) May 19, 2021
Appearing on “This Week in Missouri Politics” in April, state Rep. LaKeySha Bosley addressed what was then just a possibility of McCloskey launching a U.S. Senate bid. She decried how “polarized” the political climate has become and encouraged voters to move away from the era of Trump.
“We need to move forward,” Bosley, a Democrat, said. “We need to have more moderate, forward-thinking Republicans in positions like that if that’s going to continue being a Republican seat.”
Over the past few weeks, McCloskey has made appearances at Lincoln Days dinners and other events. He and his wife also addressed the Republican National Convention last year.
McCloskey has tapped Billy Grant, a vice president at Arsenal Media Group, to serve as a general consultant. Chris Marston, a Virginia-based consultant, will handle compliance for the campaign. His campaign filed paperwork with the FEC Tuesday.
As news of McCloskey’s campaign broke, former U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill said on Twitter: “The only qualification you need to run for U.S. Senate is to wave a gun around at Black people.”
Editor’s Note: The author of this piece previously worked at Fox News.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is the editor of The Missouri Times. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.