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GOP Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri won't run for reelection in 2022

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Washington — Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri announced Monday he won't seek reelection in 2022, becoming the fifth GOP senator to say he will retire after next year's midterm elections.

"In every job Missourians have allowed me to have, I've tried to do my best. In almost 12,000 votes in the Congress, I'm sure I wasn't right every time, but you really make that decision based on the information you have at the time," Blunt said in a video message. "After 14 general election victories — three to county office, seven to the United States House of Representatives, and four statewide elections — I won't be a candidate for reelection to the United States Senate next year."

Blunt, 71, has served in the Senate since 2011, after 14 years in the House. He is currently the No. 4 member of GOP Senate leadership as chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, and was widely expected to seek reelection in 2022.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Blunt "has tackled so much important work for Missouri and our country and has been an enormous asset to all his colleagues." 

"I'm very sorry he'll be stepping away but am glad the country has two more years to keep benefitting from his talent," McConnell said in a statement.

His decision to retire comes as multiple other GOP senators have announced their intentions to step aside. Senators Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Richard Shelby of Alabama, Rob Portman of Ohio and Richard Burr of North Carolina have all said they will decline to seek reelection for their seats. 

At least two other Republican senators, Iowa's Chuck Grassley and Wisconsin's Ron Johnson, are still debating their political futures. 

Johnson has said in the past that he wouldn't run for a third term and told reporters on Friday that is "probably my preference now." But he said his pledge was "based on the assumption we wouldn't have Democrats in total control of government." In February, Grassley said he expects to make a decision about whether he'll seek reelection "sometime in September, October or November" of this year. 

The wave of retirements comes as the GOP faces a reckoning over the party's direction following former President Donald Trump's defeat in 2020, one which will play out in primary battles over the vacant Senate seats. 

Of the 34 Senate seats up for grabs in next year's midterms, 20 are currently held by Republicans. With the Senate evenly divided between 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, the GOP will need to win 21 of the 34 Senate races to regain control of the upper chamber. 

Before Blunt's announcement, the Cook Political Report rated the seat as solidly Republican. The GOP won nearly all of the statewide elections during the Trump era. Blunt won reelection by less than three points in 2016, and GOP Senator Josh Hawley defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill by six points two years later. Mr. Trump won the state by 19 points in 2016 and by 15 points in 2020.

Jason Kander, Blunt's Democratic opponent in 2016, tweeted on Monday that he won't be running in 2022. 

"My decision not to run was never about who I'd run against," Kander wrote. "I'm the President of [the Veterans Community Project] and we're building campuses for vets around the USA. Love this work, don't want a new job."

McCaskill also said she won't be running next year. "To all that are asking: thank you to the many who have said kind things. But I will never run for office again," she tweeted.

Jack Turman contributed reporting.

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