Mark McCloskey, a St. Louis personal injury lawyer who gained national attention after he and his wife waved guns at racial injustice protesters who marched near their home last summer, said Tuesday he will run for the U.S. Senate in 2022.
McCloskey made the announcement on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News. Earlier Tuesday, the Federal Election Commission's website showed "Mark McCloskey for Missouri" was registered, and a website, mccloskeyforsenate.com, was seeking campaign donations.
"God came knocking on my door last summer disguised as an angry mob," McCloskey told Carlson. "And it really did wake me up."
Incumbent Missouri Republican Roy Blunt announced in March he wouldn't seek a third term. McCloskey will seek the Republican nomination against two contenders with strong name recognition: Former Govenor Eric Greitens, who resigned from office amid a sex scandal in 2018, and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt.
Several members of Congress are weighing runs in heavily-Republican Missouri. Five lesser-known Democrats also have announced Senate bids.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey became celebrities in conservative circles - and were vilified among Democrats - after the incident on June 28 outside their lavish home in St. Louis' Central West End.
Demonstrators were marching to the home of then-Mayor Lyda Krewson amid nationwide protests after police killed George Floyd in Minneapolis. The protesters ventured onto a private street that includes the McCloskey mansion.
The couple, both of them attorneys in their early 60s, said they felt threatened after protesters broke down an iron gate and ignored a "No Trespassing" sign. Protest leaders denied damaging the gate and said the march was peaceful.
Mark McCloskey came out of his home with an AR-15-style rifle and Patricia McCloskey emerged with a semiautomatic handgun. Cellphone video captured the confrontation.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, a Democrat, charged them with unlawful use of a weapon. A grand jury in October indicted them on the same charge and added an evidence tampering charge. The indictment states that a semiautomatic pistol was altered in a way that "obstructed the prosecution of Patricia McCloskey" on the weapons charge.
The McCloskey case drew former President Donald Trump's attention, notes CBS St. Louis affiliate KMOV-TV. McCloskey, who campaigned for Mr. Trump, said he's hoping for his endorsement but added that he hasn't spoken to the former president about his candidacy.
In the campaign video, McCloskey says it's time stand against "cancel culture" and protect Second Amendment rights. He also called systemic racism "a lie."
"This is a country that is open to all races, all nationalities, all religions, but the point is you come here, you work hard, we all pull in the same direction and that high tide floats all boats. That's why when people say there is systemic racism, maybe that's an excuse," McCloskey told KMOV.
The couple contended the charges against them were politically motivated. They spoke via video at last year's Republican National Convention. Republican Missouri Governor Mike Parson has said he would pardon the McCloskeys if they're convicted.
Their case is due to go to trial in November, but Gardner's office won't be prosecuting it. A judge sent the case to a special prosecutor because Gardner made reference to the case in fundraising emails during her successful bid for reelection in 2020.