ST. LOUIS (AP) — An attorney who held key roles in the George W. Bush administration and who left his post last week as a senior investigator for the U.S. House committee probing the Jan. 6 insurrection said Wednesday he is running for a Missouri U.S. Senate seat as an independent.
John F. Wood announced in a prepared statement that he's beginning the effort to get on the November general election ballot for retiring GOP Sen. Roy Blunt’s seat.
The announcement comes as some Republican leaders express concern that former Gov. Eric Greitens might prevail in a 21-candidate field for the Republican nomination for the seat in the Aug. 2 primary, then lose in November because of the sex and campaign finance scandals that pushed him from office in 2018. Greitens also faces allegations of physical abuse from his ex-wife, which he has denied. With the Senate evenly divided, the GOP can’t afford to lose what would otherwise be a safe seat.
Those concerns intensified last week when Facebook removed a Greitens campaign video that shows him brandishing a shotgun and declaring that he’s hunting RINOs, or Republicans In Name Only.
“I am conservative and a life-long Republican. But the primaries for both parties have become a race to the bottom,” Wood said in a prepared statement. “This was evident a few days ago when the leading candidate for one of the parties released a campaign advertisement glorifying violence against his political enemies, from his own party no less. Missouri deserves better. Missouri needs another option.”
To get on the November ballot as an independent, Wood would need to submit petitions signed by 10,000 registered voters by Aug. 1.
Wood, 52, served as U.S. attorney for Missouri’s Western District from 2007 to 2009 and before that held key roles in the George W. Bush administration. He was working as general counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce when he stepped down in September to become senior investigative counsel for the Jan. 6 committee. He resigned that post Friday.
Former Republican U.S. Sen. John Danforth has urged Wood to run as a right-leaning independent. Wood once worked for Danforth’s staff.
Besides Greitens, other GOP contenders include Attorney General Eric Schmitt, U.S. Reps. Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long, Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz and St. Louis attorney Mark McCloskey. Schatz is positioning himself as a “Reagan Republican.” The others are strong supporters of former President Donald Trump, who has not yet endorsed a candidate in the race.
Leading Democratic contenders include former Marine Lucas Kunce, who is running as a populist, and Trudy Busch Valentine, who is part of the Busch brewery family.