Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon passes on Senate campaign

Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon passes on Senate campaign
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Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) Thursday said he will not run in the state’s open Senate race, a blow for Democrats who are seeking to field a high-profile contender in the race.

Nixon, who was elected to the governorship in 2008 and reelected in 2012, said he appreciates all the support he’s received from Democrats pushing him to run but indicated he would prefer to avoid the partisanship that is plaguing Washington. 

“I have truly enjoyed the positive changes in my life and fitness since completing 30 consecutive years of public service,” he said in a statement. “I am not running for U.S. Senate. I choose a different path.” 

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“While I deeply appreciate the many people who have reached out and acknowledge folks’ angst about the track of our country’s divisive politics, I believe I will be more effective outside of this partisan back and forth,” he added. “I always thrived on policy more than politics. My post-Governor involvement on a myriad of matters is not filtered through a partisan lens — that is liberating and I want it to continue.”

Nixon said he would continue working at Washington University Law School, practicing law and advocating for various environmental causes.

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The former governor’s announcement marks a setback for Democrats who are eager to put forth a competitive candidate in the Show Me State’s race to replace retiring Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP hopes spending traps derail Biden agenda A tale of two chambers: Trump's power holds in House, wanes in Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Senate passes infrastructure bill, budget resolution; Cuomo resigns MORE (R). 

Several Democrats have already jumped into the race, including Marine Corps veteran Lucas Kunce and state Sen. Scott Sifton. None of the declared candidates have broad profiles, though Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Quinton Lucas has said he’s considering a bid.

Missouri has jolted to the right in recent years, making it treacherous terrain for Democrats in a statewide race. However, the Republican primary is packed with contenders, and Democrats hope that a bloody nominating contest that anoints a controversial candidate combined with a strong candidate of their own could provide a path to flipping Blunt’s seat.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Rep. Vicky HartzlerVicky Jo HartzlerAfter messy Afghanistan withdrawal, questions remain House panel backs making women register for draft Republicans hit Biden over Afghanistan, with eye on midterms MORE are already running, and at least three other GOP House members are considering runs. However, former Gov. Eric Greitens is also running in the GOP primary, causing Republican heartburn that he could put the seat in play if he wins the nomination after resigning in disgrace in 2018 over allegations of sexual abuse and blackmail against a woman with whom he had an extramarital affair.