U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler faces an uphill climb for name recognition in her statewide campaign to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri. But she received a big lift with an endorsement from the state’s other sitting senator, Josh Hawley.
“I’ve known Vicky for years,” Hawley told The Heartlander in an interview. “She’s a person of integrity, she’s a person of character. Vicky is tough. When she says she’s going to do something, she does it. She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t back down. She stands her ground.”
Hawley promises to campaign for Hartzler in the Republican primary. He cites her strong advocacy for election integrity, parents’ rights and stopping Critical Race Theory in schools, as well as standing up to China and “defending women’s sports from the loony, left-wing attempts to cancel that.”
His endorsement is based on Hartzler’s track record and character, he said. “Across the board, I think on the issues that really matter to Missourians, Vicky has been there, she’s been fighting. I’m really impressed with her, and I think she’s going to be a great senator.”
Hartzler, who represents the 4th Congressional District in west-central Missouri, is going up against statewide recognition for such big-name Republicans as former Gov. Eric Greitens and Attorney General Eric Schmitt – the latter of whom has burnished his brand and his conservative credentials with a series of lawsuits against mask mandates across the state.
Also in the Senate race are 7th Congressional District Rep. Billy Long and Mark McCloskey, the St. Louis lawyer who gained national celebrity status when he and his wife guarded their home with guns from some 500 Black Lives Matter protesters in June 2020.
Hawley said he’s confident Hartzler can overcome her name recognition challenge, and he plans to help. “I really think if people get to know her around the state, they’re really going to love her. The more people know her, the more they’re going to like her.”
“Josh Hawley has been a champion for our conservative values and a powerful voice for what we believe in,” Hartzler said in a statement to The Heartlander. “I’m honored that he’s endorsed me and sees that I’m a fighter as well. I look forward to working with him in the Senate to stop Biden’s disastrous, socialist policies.”
Whoever succeeds Blunt will have big shoes to fill. Also a former congressman and House majority whip, Blunt has risen to leadership in the Senate, too, since his election there in 2010. He serves as chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, and as the ranking member of the Senate Rules Committee. He’s also a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. Blunt announced his retirement last March, effective at the end of this year.