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GOP Rep. Vicky Hartzler launches Missouri Senate bid

GOP Rep. Vicky Hartzler launches Missouri Senate bid
© Greg Nash

Rep. Vicky HartzlerVicky Jo HartzlerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Bipartisan group reaches infrastructure deal; many questions remain GOP Rep. Vicky Hartzler launches Missouri Senate bid Biden's self-inflicted crisis MORE (R-Mo.) entered the race to replace retiring Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP senator: I want to make Biden a 'one-half-term president' GOP Rep. Vicky Hartzler launches Missouri Senate bid Cryptocurrency industry lobbies Washington for 'regulatory clarity' MORE (R-Mo.) on Thursday, becoming the first woman and member of Missouri’s House delegation to announce a run for Senate. 

Hartzler, who has been eyeing Blunt’s seat for months, made the announcement at a shooting range in Lee’s Summit, Mo., according to The Missouri Times

She is the fourth Republican to enter the race to succeed Blunt, joining a field of candidates that so far includes Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, former Gov. Eric Greitens, former libertarian gubernatorial candidate Rik Combs and attorney Mark McCloskey, who gained national attention last year after he and his wife waved guns at racial injustice protesters in St. Louis.

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Hartzler has represented Missouri’s vast 4th Congressional District since 2011, winning her seat after narrowly defeating 17-term incumbent Rep. Ike Skelton. 

In a video announcing her campaign, Hartzler cast the U.S. as being in a state of “crisis,” echoing a common Republican talking point that the Democratic Party is barreling the country toward socialism. 

“The Democrat Party has been taken over by socialists and they are endangering our security, bankrupting our nation, killing our jobs, fueling inflation, harming our children, defending our police, shredding our freedoms and rewriting our history,” Hartzler said.

“They are destroying the country you and I love, and they must be stopped,” she added. 

Once a battleground state, Missouri has lurched to the right in recent years. But Democrats are hoping that Blunt’s retirement — and a potentially chaotic Republican primary — could give them a shot at capturing one of the state’s two Senate seats next year.