Former Republican U.S. Senator John Danforth and others are urging a former federal prosecutor who is an attorney for the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 uprising to run independently for the open Missouri Senate seat.
A committee launched a website Monday encouraging John F. Wood to run for incumbent GOP Senator Roy Blunt’s seat. The website said Missourians “deserve an alternative” and called Wood a “principled leader who put country above party when the stakes are highest and is committed to serving the people of our State with Integrity”.
Steve Crim, a spokesman for johnwoodformo.org, said Tuesday he expects Wood to decide soon whether he will run. A message left in Wood’s office was not returned.
Danforth, 85, said in an interview that he had nothing to do with the website but also wanted Wood to show up. Wood previously worked on the Danforth Senate staff.
“He is exceptionally capable, skilled and experienced, and also has the temper and really the heart for the job,” Danforth said.
To participate in the November ballot as an independent, Wood would have to submit petitions signed by 10,000 registered voters by August 1. Wood is also expected to quit his job; federal employees are prohibited from seeking federal political office.
Wood, 52, served as a United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri from 2007 to 2009 and before that held key positions in the George W. Bush administration. He was working as general counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce when he resigned in September to become senior investigative counsel for the Jan. 6 committee.
Blunt’s announcement last year that he would not seek a third term sparked a frenzy to replace him. The field of candidates includes 21 Republicans in what has become a heavily Republican state.
Crim said Wood considered himself a Republican whose beliefs “philosophically align with the majority of Missourians.”
Among the leading Republican candidates is Eric Greitens, who resigned as governor in 2018 amid an investigation into whether he used an incriminating photo to blackmail a woman into not talking about their affair extra marital.
Greitens released a campaign video on Monday showing him brandishing a shotgun and declaring that he is hunting RINOs, which stands for Republicans in name only. The announcement drew heavy criticism, including from some conservatives.
Danforth, of suburban St. Louis, first expressed his displeasure with the GOP pitch in February. He reiterated Tuesday that the Senate needs right-wing centrists like Wood who can find a way around the partisan divide so prevalent in Washington.
The problem of polarization “is not limited to our state,” Danforth said. “But here we are right in the middle of the country, and we have an opportunity to send a message to America that there is an alternative to political extremism.”
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