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Nixon opts out of US Senate race

After months of speculation, former Gov. Jay Nixon officially opted out of the 2022 U.S. Senate race Thursday.

“I have truly enjoyed the positive changes in my life and fitness since completing 30 consecutive years of public service,” Nixon said. “While I deeply appreciate the many people who have reached out and acknowledging folks’ angst about the track of our country’s divisive politics, I believe I will be more effective outside of this partisan back and forth.”

Nixon said he will continue practicing law with Dowd Bennett, teaching at Washington University, and working on the state’s conservation efforts

“My lifelong work to conserve our land, water, and to improve the quality of life for people in our cities, small towns, rural communities, and future generations will be a growing focus,” he said. 

He said he would move forward in his work with a “positive attitude about our joined future.”

Nixon served as Missouri’s 55th governor from 2009-2016, leading with a focus on Missouri’s parks, economic development, and public safety. He served as chair of the National Governors Association Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee during his tenure. 

Nixon also served as attorney general from 1992-2008, during which time he won a landmark case before the U.S. Supreme Court reinstating Missouri’s campaign contribution limits. He also served six years in the Missouri Senate.

Speculation about a bid from Nixon has persisted since U.S. Senator Roy Blunt announced he was vacating his seat, with several guests on This Week in Missouri Politics pointing to him as a possible Democratic frontrunner.  

Nixon was considered to be a safe foil to former Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican, for Democrats. 

The race has Greitens, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, and Mark McCloskey vying for the Republican nomination. Nixon would have competed against former state Sen. Scott Sifton, veteran Lucas Kunce, Spencer Toder, and activist Tim Shepard for the Democratic nod.