Scott Sifton has already gone toe-to-toe with Eric Greitens. As an attorney in the state Senate, Sifton challenged the erstwhile governor over his budget cuts, called for an investigation into potential campaign finance violations, and worked on the impeachment inquiry.
Now, Sifton and Greitens are battling again — but this time over an open U.S. Senate seat.
Sifton, 47, was one of the first people to jump into the race, even before Republican Senator Roy Blunt announced he would not seek re-election. He pointed to the Capitol insurrection as a catalyst for wanting to run for higher office. Five people were killed and two Capitol police officers later died by suicide after protestors upset about the results of the 2020 presidential election stormed the U.S. Capitol in early January.
“We need to counter-balance the forces that fan those flames so to speak. We cannot have a U.S. Senate delegation that consists of Josh Hawley and Eric Greitens. We need more balance than that,” Sifton said. “There are obviously a lot of important challenges ahead of us on policy as well but that was a watershed moment for a lot of people. We need to get back to the business of governing and move our nation forward.”
Sifton termed out of the state Senate last year, having previously served in the lower chamber. In the statehouse, Sifton was known for his legal expertise as well as his discipline.
“With his legislation and his preparation for the floor, he was always meticulous and thorough. He was always ready,” former Minority Floor Leader Gina Walsh said. “He could hold the floor forever once you told him you needed it. But the thing about Scott is, he liked to stick to the subject matter and stay on task. He didn’t like it when somebody said, ‘What did you think of the baseball game last night?’”
“He is truly a good tool to have in your toolbox for a politician, but he was also great for our caucus,” Walsh said.
Sifton is the sole proprietor of his law practice which also works with OnderLaw LLC where he focuses on environmental cleanup litigation and recouping taxpayer funds spent to combat the opioid epidemic. He is a graduate of Truman State University and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Michigan Law School.
While he lives in St. Louis now, Sifton grew up in Kansas City. And when he was 15 years old, he went through “the most formative experience” of his life. His father lost his job, and his family lost their minivan and the home he grew up in. Eventually, his parents found new work, and Sifton got a job at a local Ponderosa Steakhouse.
“We all felt that loss in different ways, and my parents landed on their feet the best they could,” Sifton said.
And that personal story will underscore his message of “building an economy that works for everyone in every corner of Missouri — urban, suburban, exurban, and rural” as his campaign gets off the ground and he travels to every county in the state.
“That includes creating jobs that don’t just let a family get by but actually allows folks to get ahead. That means access to quality, affordable health care, that means investment in our infrastructure in all parts of the state, improving our public schools, prioritizing job training and higher education, and of course, protecting the social safety net — social security and Medicare which matters to everyone regardless of what part of the state they’re in,” Sifton said.
Sifton was first elected to the state Senate in 2012 and inevitably became the go-to expert for the Democrats on tort reform issues. But he also challenged Greitens — who resigned as Missouri’s chief executive after less than two years amid sexual misconduct and campaign finance allegations — during his tenure.
But while Sifton called for investigations into his campaign’s handling of a charity list and use of an encrypted messaging service and was involved in the impeachment discussions, he said he also stood up against budget cuts to school buses and nursing homes and the elimination of an affordable housing program.
“I worked to prevent as much of his agenda from being adopted as possible with some success,” Sifton recalled. “Sen. [Kiki] Curls and I were the last two standing on SB 43, the employment discrimination bill. We held that off for as long as we possibly could and did as much as we could to keep strong protections against workplace discrimination in Missouri. But on issue after issue, I squared up with Greitens when he was governor, including on dark money, his refusal to disclose the identity of his donors which was ultimately why he resigned. I was on the tip of the spear on that.”
Sifton doesn’t take being a lawmaker lightly — whether that’s in the statehouse or U.S. Senate.
“It’s an opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives that has to be considered very carefully. Sometimes you can do good by passing a law; other times you can do good by stopping one from being passed,” he said. “It’s a sobering responsibility.”
As of the latest campaign finance filings, Sifton had nearly $146,000 cash on hand. In comparison, Greitens had about $9,000 cash on hand.
Aside from Greitens, Attorney General Eric Schmitt has officially joined the race. Congressmen Billy Long and Jason Smith as well as Congresswomen Vicky Hartzler and Ann Wagner are considering joining the Republican field as well.
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.