Former Gov. Jay Nixon opts out of 2022 U.S. Senate race

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Former Gov. of Missouri Jay Nixon announced Friday that he will not run for Missouri’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2022. The 55th governor of Missouri said he will continue to practice law and teach at Washington University Law School.

“I have truly enjoyed the positive changes in my life and fitness since completing 30 consecutive years of public service,” Nixon said in his statement. “I am not running for U.S. Senate. I choose a different path.”

Nixon said he sees himself as “more effective outside of this partisan back and forth.” The decision comes as a big blow to Missouri democrats seeking to flip the state in 2022. 

“I always thrived on policy more than politics,” Nixon said. “My post-Governor involvement on a myriad of matters is not filtered through a partisan lens – that is liberating and I want it to continue. 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.”

With Sen. Roy Blunt announcing his decision to not seek another term, anticipation built up around a host of potential candidates for if they were going to jump in or not. Before long, many began speculating that Nixon was seriously considering a bid for the vacated seat.

Speculation heightened when the news broke that Nixon is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at a Clay County democratic event later this month. With many believing he may announce his candidacy there, Nixon put a halt to the rumors on Friday.

Nixon, a prominent democrat, would have likely been a foil to Eric Greitens. Greitens, a former Governor himself, announced in March his plans to run for the seat. Other candidates on the Republican side include Attorney General Eric Schmitt, U.S. Reps. Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long, and St. Louis attorney Mark McCloskey.

Some important Missouri democrats are still rumored to run as well. Most notably is Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, who has not publicly ruled out a campaign at this point. Democrats would likely want a big name to throw their hat in the ring. Their field of announced candidates includes state Sen. Scott Sifton, veterans Lucas Kunce and Jewell Kelly Jr. and businessman Spencer Toder. 

Of course, these are still the early days of the race and there will likely be more announcements in the coming months. The election is still over a year away and the field will likely get bigger before it gets smaller.

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