St. Louis attorney who waved rifle at protesters files to run for Senate

Mark McCloskey, the Missouri lawyer who was seen pointing an assault rifle at Black Lives Matter protesters in St. Louis last year, launched a campaign in the Show-Me State’s open Senate race on Tuesday. 

McCloskey, a wealthy personal injury lawyer, filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission announcing his bid and set up a campaign website to begin accepting donations.

He formally announced his campaign on Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonFox News blasts 'ambush' of Carlson at Montana fly-fishing store Psaki says Biden admin 'needs' Fox News in order to fight vaccine misinformation Biden walks fine line with Fox News MORE's Fox News show Tuesday evening, touting a slew of GOP talking points and railing against issues like "cancel culture" and critical race theory.

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“The left’s going to come down on us like a ton of bricks, we need all the help we can get,” he said.

McCloskey and his wife, Patricia McCloskey, rose to national prominence in 2020 after video of them waving their guns at protesters outside their St. Louis mansion went viral. They were indicted on charges of unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering but became a cause célèbre for Republicans, who have raised them up as an example of what they say is a use of firearms in self-defense.

The couple later spoke at last year’s Republican National Convention and even drew support from then-President TrumpDonald TrumpCuban embassy in Paris attacked by gasoline bombs Trump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios Trump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race MORE, who said the charges against them were “disgraceful.” McCloskey indicated in a statement that he will lean into his reputation as a "fighter" as he wages his Senate bid.

“America is at a crossroads. Do we want to preserve our traditions and our way of life, or do we want the cancel culture mobs to destroy everything we’ve built? After traveling across the great state of Missouri over the past 11 months, it’s clear Missourians want a fighter in the US Senate," he said.

“I’ve spent 36 years fighting for the rights of my fellow Missourians. And Missourians want a fighter who will stand up against cancel culture, the poison of critical race theory, the violent mobs and rising crime, and the spread of socialism."

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Mark McCloskey’s campaign adds another controversial candidate for the GOP in a race to replace retiring Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntThe Hill's Morning Report - Will Schumer back down on his deadline? GOP fumes over Schumer hardball strategy Cybersecurity bills gain new urgency after rash of attacks MORE (R-Mo.), a electoral contest that Republicans cannot afford to lose.

The GOP is already facing a headache over the candidacy of former Gov. Eric Greitens (R), who resigned in disgrace in 2018 over allegations he had an affair with his hairdresser and blackmailed and sexually assaulted her.

Democrats currently control the 50-50 Senate due to Vice President Harris’s tie-breaking vote, meaning that the GOP must net just one seat next year to retake the upper chamber. However, the party is anxiously trying to avoid putting forward a controversial candidate in Missouri, an increasingly conservative state where Republicans normally would have the advantage in a statewide contest. 

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R) is expected to rally establishment support to try to win the GOP primary. 

Former state Sen. Scott Sifton and attorney Lucas Kunce are among those running for the Democrats.

Updated at 9:26 p.m.