Jay Nixon, the former Democratic governor of Missouri, says he will not run for U.S. Senate in 2022, a major blow to Democrats who viewed him as their best chance of competing in the increasingly red midwest state.
In a Thursday statement, Nixon said he "deeply appreciate[s] the many people who have reached out" asking him to run but will "choose a different path."
"I have truly enjoyed the positive changes in my life and fitness since completing 30 consecutive years of public service," Nixon said. "I am not running for U.S. Senate."
Both state and national party leaders saw Nixon as the best chance to pull off a long-shot win in Missouri. Two-term Republican senator Roy Blunt announced he will not run for reelection, giving Democrats a glimmer of hope in a state former president Donald Trump won by 15 points in November. A July Remington Research Group poll found Nixon trailing potential Republican opponents by single digits in hypothetical matchups.
Nixon is now the fourth prominent Missouri Democrat to decline to run for the seat. Former senator Claire McCaskill, failed gubernatorial candidate Nicole Galloway, and failed Senate candidate Jason Kander have already ruled out launching bids of their own. The party's top candidates in the race, state senator Scott Sifton and self-described progressive Lucas Kunce, have failed to raise the money needed to strike fear in Republicans. One veteran GOP operative in the state told the Washington Free Beacon that Sifton will struggle to challenge Republicans "with his measly $100k of cash on hand."
"The Missouri Democrats are such a dumpster fire that Governor Nixon won't touch the race with a 10-foot pole," the operative said.