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Missouri state lawmaker to challenge US Sen. Roy Blunt

February 8, 2021 GMT
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FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2020 file photo, Chairman Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., speaks at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on a "Review of Coronavirus Response Efforts" on Capitol Hill, in Washington. A spokeswoman for Blunt on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, confirmed he is running for another term. Former Democratic state Sen. Scott Sifton is challenging him. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)
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FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2020 file photo, Chairman Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., speaks at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on a "Review of Coronavirus Response Efforts" on Capitol Hill, in Washington. A spokeswoman for Blunt on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, confirmed he is running for another term. Former Democratic state Sen. Scott Sifton is challenging him. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt is running for another U.S. Senate term and former Democratic state Sen. Scott Sifton is challenging him.

A spokeswoman for Blunt on Monday told The Associated Press that the two-term senator is planning to run shortly after Sifton announced his bid for the Senate seat.

Blunt is up for re-election in 2022. Voters first sent him to the U.S. Senate in 2011, and he was re-elected in 2016.

Sifton, a 46-year-old from the St. Louis suburb of Affton, served in the Missouri Legislature from 2011 to 2020 until he was barred by law from seeking re-election because of term limits.

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Sifton criticized Blunt and fellow Republican Missouri U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley’s responses to the riots at the U.S. Capitol last month in his campaign announcement, saying Blunt was “once again too weak to speak out.”

“I’ve always been willing to take on the toughest fights to do right by Missouri families,” Sifton said in a statement. “We need a lot more of that in Washington.”

Blunt in a statement after the mob stormed the Capitol said he supported President Donald Trump and his legal challenges to the election results, but said “there is not sufficient evidence to sustain the objections.”

He called the attack on the Capitol “outrageous” and said it was a “sad day for America.”

Sifton is the only Democrat so far to announce a bid for Blunt’s seat.

The Democratic pipeline to higher office in Missouri is limited. State Auditor Nicole Galloway is the only Democratic statewide elected official in the state after former U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill lost her seat to Hawley in 2018.

Sifton briefly ran for Missouri governor in 2019 but bowed out and backed Galloway instead. She lost the 2020 election to Republican Gov. Mike Parson.

Galloway was the top Missouri Democrat to endorse Sifton’s Senate run on Monday.