On Feb. 22, I traveled to Jefferson City to indicate that I was answering the call of retired Senator John Danforth for an independent centrist candidate to challenge the polarization between the radical Republican right and the radical Democratic left. I now officially exit this quest to advocate for a more reasonable approach to governing.
I wrote Senator Danforth to say that all of my 40 years of elected service were nonpartisan, my approach to public service was always pragmatic, and we achieved results by consensus building for progress. We focused on and put a priority on what was in the best interest of the people rather than worry about political capital.
I appreciate all of the encouragement that my supporters have expressed to me over the past six weeks who have volunteered to assist with collecting the 10,000 signatures required for an independent candidate to be on the November 2022 ballot. Since my announcement, the world has changed with war and uncertainty. I do not want to be a distraction.
In the past weeks, it had become apparent to me that there is already a Republican in the U.S. Senate race who has demonstrated the kind of pragmatic leadership that is the opposite of his bombastic, self-serving extremist opponents who say anything to gratify their radical base. Senate President Pro Tem David Schatz has had the courage to be a leader for Missouri’s progress, and his integrity has enabled him to be a guiding light in a divided state.
In just the past few days, I welcomed the arrival of a fresh new candidate for U.S. Senate on the Democrat ticket who I believe shares the centrist views that I have. Trudy Busch Valentine’s message announcing her candidacy for U.S. Senate resonated with me. She believes that Missouri communities are strong, but our politics is broken — and that it is even worse in Washington. She advocates for exchanging ideas with honesty and integrity and embracing politics that put people first. In response, Lucas Kunce pulled a “Greitens” and doubled down on being a warrior.
Despite the security of being beloved Gussy Busch’s daughter, she became a registered nurse which tells me that she really cares about people. Busch Valentine experienced deep sorrow twice with the death of her husband from cancer and her son to an overdose, and these tragedies have ignited a desire deep within her to serve. I see similarities to two privileged cousins, one a Republican and one a Democrat, who suffered immense personal tragedies before becoming great presidents. Teddy Roosevelt lost his wife and his mother in the same dreadful night; Franklin D. Roosevelt was stricken with polio. Both prevailed while carrying a bright torch of progress for humanity.
For those of you who will vote in the Republican primary, I urge you to enthusiastically support Sen. Dave Schatz. For those of you who will vote in the Democratic primary, I urge you to support Trudy Busch Valentine. In my opinion, nobody in the race cares more about you and me and the progress of Missouri than Schatz and Valentine.
Thomas P. Schneider is the former mayor of Florissant.