Missouri Rep. Billy LongWilliam (Billy) H. LongGOP lawmakers demand answers on withheld restitution following Nassar revelation House committee approves slate of bills to improve telecom security Here’s what Congress is reading at the beach this summer MORE is jumping into the GOP primary in the Show Me state’s open Senate race, adding another contender to the already crowded primary field.
Long, a former auctioneer and radio show host who won his seat in 2010, announced his long-expected candidacy on Fox News’s “Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonDon Lemon defends Tucker Carlson amid confrontation video Fox News blasts ‘ambush’ of Carlson at Montana fly-fishing store Psaki says Biden admin ‘needs’ Fox News in order to fight vaccine misinformation MORE Tonight,” calling it “the worst kept secret in Missouri politics.”
“I’m entering the race for United States Senate,” he declared.
Long, a staunch conservative, is looking to tie himself closely to former President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – White House, Dems play blame game over evictions The Memo: Left pins hopes on Nina Turner in Ohio after recent defeats Biden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic MORE, who even out of office remains wildly popular with the GOP grassroots. The Missouri Republican met with Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan Tuesday afternoon, a source familiar with the meeting confirmed to The Hill.
Politico was the first to report on the meeting.
Long is running for the chance to replace retiring Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGraham’s COVID-19 ‘breakthrough’ case jolts Senate New spotlight on secretaries of state as electoral battlegrounds Biden’s bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet MORE (R), whose old House seat Long currently holds.
The House member is just the latest Republican to jump into the fray, following former Gov. Eric Greitens, Rep. Vicky HartzlerVicky Jo HartzlerFormer Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon passes on Senate campaign Trump unhappy with Guilfoyle backing Greitens: report Giuliani to stump for Greitens in Missouri MORE, attorney Mark McCloskey and state Attorney General Eric Schmitt. Neither Trump nor Blunt have made any endorsement in the primary.
The ultimate winner of the nominating contest is expected to be the favorite in the general election in 2022. Missouri, once a swing state, has shifted rapidly to the right, handing Trump a 15-point victory in 2020.
However, Republicans have expressed concern that Greitens, who resigned in 2018 over allegations he sexually assaulted and blackmailed a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair, could throw Blunt’s seat into jeopardy. Those concerns have only been heightened by the 50-50 split in the Senate, which means that any one race could determine which party holds the majority.
Observers have speculated that Greitens’s chances will increase as more establishment-oriented candidates jump into the primary and divide support among themselves.
However, Long cast himself as an electable contender while knocking Greitens over his baggage.
“We need to get the Senate back, you’re not going to get anything until you get the Senate back, and I’m the guy that can win that Senate seat in Missouri and make sure that we don’t have a big race there,” Long said on Fox News.