The Republican official has vowed to defend Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda in Washington if he wins the Senate seat up for grabs next year.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) — Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced on Wednesday that he will run to fill the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Roy Blunt, who will not seek reelection in 2022.
“Washington, D.C., needs more fighters, needs more reinforcements to save America, so after a lot of reflection, support from folks back home and on behalf of the people of the great state of Missouri, I’m announcing my candidacy for United States Senate,” Schmitt, a Republican, said while making the official announcement on “Fox & Friends.”
Schmitt said that he has been a defender of former President Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda. He told the show’s hosts that he supports securing the borders, energy independence and creating more opportunities for Americans.
He has been Missouri’s attorney general since 2019. He made headlines in April 2020 when he filed a lawsuit against China accusing the country of being responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic.
In December, Schmitt led a coalition of 17 state attorneys general in filing an amicus brief supporting Texas in its unsuccessful Supreme Court challenge of presidential election results in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin.
“I think you look around and increasingly it feels like our culture and our country is slipping away, and all the levers of power right now in Washington, D.C., are tilted towards the Democrats,” Schmitt said on “Fox and Friends.”
Schmitt was elected to his first four-year term as Missouri attorney general in the November election. His Senate campaign announcement comes a little over two months after he was sworn in on Jan. 11.
He had served as Missouri’s treasurer from 2017 to 2019 until he was appointed to the attorney general position by Governor Mike Parson, a fellow Republican, after his predecessor Josh Hawley was elected to the Senate.
If elected next year, Schmitt vowed to push back against President Joe Biden’s agenda. As attorney general, he has participated or led several attempts to push GOP priorities since Biden’s inauguration. They include calling on the president to reinstate the Keystone XL pipeline permit and joining a lawsuit challenging the Biden administration over the expansion of federal regulations.
Schmitt joins a potentially crowded field of Republican candidates seeking Blunt’s seat that includes former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, who announced his candidacy on Monday. Greitens stepped down as governor in June 2018 amid an affair scandal and criminal computer-tampering charges.
Other potential GOP candidates include U.S. Representatives Ann Wagner and Jason Smith.
Blunt, 71, surprised the political world with his announcement earlier this month that he won’t seek reelection in 2022. Before being elected senator in 2014 and again in 2018, Blunt served seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
He is the fifth Republican senator to announce their retirement ahead of the midterm elections, which will determine the U.S. Senate majority for the final two years of Biden’s first term as president.