34 now seeking Missouri U.S. Senate seat nominations

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Jul. 29—A total of 34 candidates are vying on Tuesday for the Missouri Senate seat to be left behind by retiring Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, who has held office since 2010.

There are 21 Republicans, 11 Democrats, one Libertarian and one Constitution Party candidate on the primary ballots.

That is the lineup for the primaries, but there is one more potential candidate who will join the four party nominees in the fall if he collects 10,000 signatures before Aug. 1 to be on the Nov. 8 ballot as an independent.

John Wood, who was senior investigative counsel for the select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol prior to deciding to run for the Senate, is being backed by former Missouri U.S. Sen. Jack Danforth. The latter who has put up $5 million toward his campaign.

The Republican candidates on Tuesday's ballot are Patrick A. Lewis, Eric Schmitt, Billy Long, Eric Greitens, Bernie Mowinski, C.W. Gardner, Deshon Porter, Vicky Hartzler, Dave Sims, Mark McCloskey, Eric McElroy, Dennis Lee Chilton, Robert Allen, Dave Schatz, Hartford Tunnell, Kevin C. Schepers, Rickey Joiner, Robert Olsen, Russel Pearler Breyfogle Jr., Darrell Leon McClanahan III and Curtis D. Vaughn.

Schmitt, Greitens and Hartzler are among the several who currently hold or previously held elective office, and are projected as potential winners of the GOP nomination.

—Schmitt, 47, of Kirkwood, has served as Missouri's attorney general since 2019 and previously served as the state treasurer from 2017 to 2019. He graduated from Truman State University and attended law school at Saint Louis University.

—Long, 66, of Springfield, has served as the U.S. representative for Missouri's 7th Congressional District since 2011. He owned and operated auction and real estate businesses in Southwest Missouri before running for office.

—Greitens, 48, of Chesterfield, was a Navy SEAL and worked as a humanitarian volunteer, documentary photographer and researcher. He attended Duke University and the University of Oxford, where he earned a master's degree and a doctorate. Greitens served as Missouri's governor from 2017 to 2018 until resigning amid criminal charges and legislative investigations. He is accused by his ex-wife of abuse and bullying, and has run a widely condemned ad suggesting he was hunting members of his own party with a gun, according to The Associated Press.

—Mowinski, of Sunrise Beach, is a retired chief master sergeant of the Air Force who was born in Chicago. He has been running for political office in Missouri for several years since 1998. He was defeated in 2012 by incumbent Hartzler during the Republican primary for U.S. representative from the 4th District.

—Hartzler, 61, of Harrisonville, is a small-business owner and a former public school teacher who has served as a U.S. representative for Missouri's 4th District since 2011. She began her public service in 1994 when she successfully ran for a state House seat. She served six years representing parts of Cass and Johnson counties. She received a bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri and a master's degree from the University of Central Missouri State.

—Lewis, 43, of Wellsville, has worked for a union as a laborer for 13 years in St. Charles. He originally ran as a Democrat for a state House seat in 2008 but was unsuccessful.

Other GOP candidates and their hometowns are Gardner, of St. Louis; Porter, of St. Louis; Sims, of Kansas City; McCloskey, of St. Louis; McElroy, of Tunas; Chilton, of Springfield; Allen, of Chesterfield; Schatz, of Sullivan; Tunnell, of Carthage; Schepers, of Fenton; Joiner, of Florissant; Olsen, of Springfield; Breyfogle Jr., of Columbia; McClanahan III, of Schell City; and Vaughn, of Springfield.

Democrats

The 11 Democratic primary candidates are Lewis Rolen, Gena Ross, Carla Coffee Wright, Josh Shipp, Spencer Toder, Lucas Kunce, Jewel Kelly, Clarence "Clay" Taylor, Pat Kelly, Trudy Busch Valentine and Ronald William Harris.

The candidates make up a diverse field with several women and Blacks, but few have ever held elective office.

—Rolen, 64, of St. Louis, is a former middle school teacher and coach who currently works for Washington University as an operational assistant for the department of otolaryngology. He has taught in several St. Louis public schools and was a member of the American Federation of Teachers-Local 420. He attended Forest Park Community College and the University of Missouri, and graduated from Harris-Stowe State College.

—Ross, of Platte City, is an associate professor of business at Kansas City Kansas Community College and an adjunct instructor at Baker University School of Professional Graduate Studies. She is also a former constituent services representative who worked with former Sen. Claire McCaskill. She earned a doctorate and a master's degree from Walden University in Minneapolis, a bachelor's degree from American Intercontinental University in Illinois and an associate degree from North Central University in Minneapolis. Ross ran against Rep. Sam Graves for Missouri's 6th Congressional District in the 2020 election but was unsuccessful. She was originally from Minneapolis and has been living in Missouri for 12 years.

—Wright, of St. Louis, is a state-certified child care facility director, the founder of St. Louis Inner City Cultural Center Enterprise and a member of the Universal African Peoples Organization. She's campaigning for economic empowerment, social justice, equality, education equity and access to adequate health care, according to her website. She ran against Sen. Claire McCaskill in the Democratic primary election in 2018.

—Valentine, of Clayton, is a former nurse who serves on a nursing board and works with charitable organizations. She graduated from Saint Louis University with a nursing degree and earned a master of arts in pastoral studies from the Aquinas Institute of Theology. She is a fourth-generation Missourian and the daughter of Gertrude Buholzer Busch and August (Gussie) Anheuser Busch Jr., who grew the Anheuser-Busch companies into the largest brewery in the world, according to her campaign website. This is her first time running for political office.

—Kunce, 39, of Independence, is an attorney and served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2007 to 2020. He's also a director with the American Economic Liberties Project and has worked as an international negotiations officer on the joint staff at the Pentagon. Kunce received degrees from the University of Missouri, Columbia Law School and Yale University. He ran as a candidate for the Missouri House of Representatives in 2006 but was defeated by GOP incumbent Mark Bruns.

Other Democratic candidates are Shipp, of St. Louis; Toder, of St. Louis; Jewel Kelly, of Festus; Taylor, of St. Louis; Pat Kelly, of St. Louis; and Harris, of Kansas City.

The Libertarian candidate is Jonathan Dine, of Kansas City, and the Constitution Party candidate is Paul Venable, of Lincoln.