Kit Bond and John Ashcroft endorse Eric Schmitt for U.S. Senate, despite past relationships with John Wood

Independent candidate John Wood continues to take losses in his last-minute bid for Missouri’s open U.S. Senate seat, missing out on two massive endorsements last week that some believed his past relationships would secure for him. 

Former U.S. Senator and Governor of Missouri Christopher “Kit” Bond helped usher Wood, his cousin, through his appointment as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri in 2007. But despite familial ties and past apparent nepotism in Wood’s favor, Bond endorsed Republican nominee Eric Schmitt in the Senate race late last week.

“Eric Schmitt will be a strong and consistent voice for the people of Missouri,” Bond said in his endorsement. “A proven winner, Eric will keep Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat in Republican hands, which is important to Missouri and to taking back the Senate in November. I am honored to endorse and support his campaign and will do everything I can to ensure he wins.”

Bond is about as prominent a figure as it gets in Missouri politics. Serving as state auditor in the early 1970s, two nonconsecutive terms as governor in the 1970s and 1980s, and an impressive tenure as U.S. senator from 1987 to 2011, Bond carries immense weight in Missouri’s political circles – weight that won’t be behind his cousin on election day. 

The other endorsement Wood missed out on, despite a past connection, came from revered statesman John Ashcroft, who undoubtedly would join Bond on Missouri’s Mount Rushmore of elected officials.

Ashcroft hired Wood as his deputy associate general counsel while serving as U.S. attorney general in the early 2000s. But despite Wood’s service under Ashcroft – service that would presumably define Ashcroft’s perception of Wood – the former U.S. attorney general also chose Eric Schmitt as his preferred candidate.

“Eric Schmitt continues his fight to uphold our Constitution and support the rule of law,” Ashcroft said in his endorsement. “He demonstrates this through his work that he understands the rights that God granted to us must be protected, and that our government is our shared duty to protect those rights. Eric Schmitt will serve Missourians well in the U.S. Senate. He has my enthusiastic wholehearted support keeping this Senate seat in conservative hands.”

Ashcroft served as Missouri’s auditor in the 1970s, two terms as attorney general in the 1970s and 1980s, two terms as governor in the 1980s and 1990s, and one term as U.S. Senator before being chosen as the Bush administration’s U.S. attorney general in 2001. 

Wood, a Republican in the past, is running as an independent “moderate” alternative to Republican primary candidates. This, along with his recent work as senior investigative counsel for the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol – a committee many believe to be a partisan and thinly veiled attempt to tar Republicans – likely didn’t help his chances of receiving endorsements from the esteemed Missouri conservatives.

The endorsements for Schmitt come after The Heartlander exposed Wood’s tenuous ties to Missouri – such as not having a residence or being registered to vote in the state until this summer, when he decided to announce his campaign for the U.S. Senate. 

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