Former Jan. 6 committee counsel running for Senate in Missouri as independent
A former counsel for the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot is running for an open Senate seat in Missouri as an independent.
John Wood, a former federal prosecutor who served as counsel to Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the vice chair of the House Jan. 6 select committee, announced in a release on Wednesday that he is running for Senate to give voters a “common sense, conservative” candidate and an alternative to the future nominees of the two major parties.
“Missouri is at a crossroads, and my candidacy offers a common sense alternative to the crazy extremes both parties are offering in this race,” Wood said.
His announcement follows urging from some activists and a former senator from Missouri last week for Wood to join the race. Wood left his role as a top investigator on the Jan. 6 committee at the end of last week following a series of public hearings the committee held.
Polls for the Republican Senate nomination show former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens with a small lead over his competitors, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.
Greitens has faced a number of controversies, including releasing an ad earlier this month showing him with a firearm and saying he is going “RINO hunting,” using an acronym for Republican in name only. Facebook removed the ad from the platform for violating its “policies prohibiting violence and incitement.”
Wood said Greitens’s ad was “glorifying” violence against his political enemies and is evidence that the primaries in the election have become a “race to the bottom.”
Former Sen. Jack Danforth (R-Mo.) told The Hill this month that Wood would be a “terrific senator” and he would use his super PAC to support Wood’s candidacy, giving him resources that most independent candidates do not have access to.
Danforth said Missouri’s next senator should be someone who works across the political aisle and wants to “restore civility” to politics. He added that Wood has a “good heart” and plenty of experience.
Wood has served as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri and held multiple positions under former President George W. Bush. In the Bush administration, he worked as deputy associate attorney general at the Justice Department and top legal positions in the Office of Management and Budget and Department of Homeland Security.
Wood and the eventual Republican and Democratic nominees will be running for an open seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R). The Republican and Democratic primaries are scheduled for Aug. 2.
The release announcing Wood’s candidacy highlights research suggesting the Senate race may be primed for an independent candidate like Wood.
A memo from a political action committee called Missouri Stands United, which took a poll on the race, says that most voters in the election are undecided or likely to support “the lesser of two evils” of the nominees. The memo says that a “substantial” pool of voters from both parties would consider an independent candidate looking to change the “status quo” of the two-party system.
Danforth, who served as a senator for almost 20 years, said in his interview with The Hill earlier this month that the results of a poll conducted by a polling firm he enlisted also showed that an independent candidate could perform well in the state.