Independent John Wood leaves Missouri’s U.S. Senate race

August 23, 2022 GMT
FILE - John Wood, committee investigative staff counsel, questions the witnesses as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington on June 16, 2022. Wood, a Republican running as an independent in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri, announced Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, that he was withdrawing from the race. Wood said on Twitter that he decided not to challenge Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Democratic nominee Trudy Busch Valentine in the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
FILE - John Wood, committee investigative staff counsel, questions the witnesses as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington on June 16, 2022. Wood, a Republican running as an independent in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri, announced Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, that he was withdrawing from the race. Wood said on Twitter that he decided not to challenge Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Democratic nominee Trudy Busch Valentine in the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
FILE - John Wood, committee investigative staff counsel, questions the witnesses as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington on June 16, 2022. Wood, a Republican running as an independent in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri, announced Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, that he was withdrawing from the race. Wood said on Twitter that he decided not to challenge Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Democratic nominee Trudy Busch Valentine in the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
FILE - John Wood, committee investigative staff counsel, questions the witnesses as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington on June 16, 2022. Wood, a Republican running as an independent in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri, announced Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, that he was withdrawing from the race. Wood said on Twitter that he decided not to challenge Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Democratic nominee Trudy Busch Valentine in the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
FILE - John Wood, committee investigative staff counsel, questions the witnesses as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington on June 16, 2022. Wood, a Republican running as an independent in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri, announced Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, that he was withdrawing from the race. Wood said on Twitter that he decided not to challenge Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Democratic nominee Trudy Busch Valentine in the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

John Wood, a Republican running as an independent in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri, announced Tuesday that he was withdrawing from the race.

Wood said on Twitter that he decided not to challenge Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Democratic nominee Trudy Busch Valentine in the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.

Wood said he has significant differences with Schmitt and Valentine but “it has become evident there is not a realistic path to victory for me as an independent candidate.”

Wood, a lifelong Republican, former U.S. attorney and most recently a top investigator for the U.S. House committee examining the Jan. 6 riot, said he entered the race when disgraced former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was the front runner for the Republican nomination.

He said it would have been “unacceptable” for Greitens to be Missouri’s new senator. Schmitt soundly defeated Greitens in the Aug. 2 GOP primary.

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Greitens resigned as governor four years ago after a sex scandal, two criminal charges that were eventually dropped and a legislative investigation that could have led to impeachment hearings. This year, his ex-wife accused him of abuse.

Wood’s candidacy was backed by a political action committee led by retired Republican Sen. John Danforth, which spent millions on his campaign. His supporters saw him as a conservative alternative to the GOP and Democratic nominees.

“I hope others who seek elected office will endeavor to set aside the extremist rhetoric that is dividing our Nation and begin the critical work of restoring public trust in our democratic institutions,” Wood said.