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Senate President Dave Schatz latest Republican to jump into Missouri Senate race

Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz speaks with reporters following Gov. Mike Parson's 2019 State of the State address.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz speaks with reporters following Gov. Mike Parson's 2019 State of the State address.

Missouri Republicans now have a sixth major candidate in the race to succeed U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.

State Senate President Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, made his U.S. Senate bid official on Tuesday — one day after filing the necessary paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission to raise money for the pursuit.

Schatz joins Attorney General Eric Schmitt; U.S. Rep. Billy Long, R-Springfield; U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville; former Gov. Eric Greitens and attorney Mark McCloskey in the GOP primary. U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, is mulling whether to jump into the contest.

Early on Tuesday morning, Schatz released a web video in which he states: “These days, too many politicians are fakes and frauds. They switch political parties and abandon principles. They'll do anything and say anything to win an election.”

“I’m not the fanciest guy in the race,” Schatz continues in the ad. “I’m definitely not the slickest. But if you’re looking for a U.S. senator who will get the job done, I’m your guy.”

Schatz’s family owns a utility contracting business. He successfully sought a vacant House seat in 2010. In 2014, he won a state Senate seat that includes portions of St. Louis County and all of Franklin County. He won reelection in 2018 in the heavily Republican district without much difficulty.

Since 2019, Schatz has served as president pro tem of the Missouri Senate — a post in which he’s responsible for organizing committees and referring legislation to committee. In his opening video, he emphasizes his support of tax cut legislation, as well as opposition to abortion rights and gun control.

Schatz also has been a major proponent of raising Missouri’s gas tax for transportation projects, a plan that finally passed this year after years of inaction. He’s also sought to remove slot-like machines from gas stations and convenience stores across the state. And as president pro tem, Schatz has had to contend with a large Republican caucus whose members often don't see eye-to-eye on major issues — such as raising the state’s gas tax.

"As the leader of the Missouri Senate, I've helped make Missouri the strongest pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and pro-law enforcement state in the nation," Schatz says. "We've balanced our budget, passed historic income tax cuts — dramatically reducing the government's burden on Missouri families while investing in our priorities, like our roads and our schools."

Schatz’s entry into the Senate contest means there are now four candidates from the St. Louis area (Greitens, Schmitt and McCloskey), one from western Missouri (Hartzler) and one from southwest Missouri (Long).

While Schatz’s name recognition is likely not that high statewide, he does have an advantage over his opponents: the ability to self-fund. In 2014, Schatz used hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money in his first state Senate contest.

Democrats who have announced for the Senate contest include attorney Lucas Kunce, former state Sen. Scott Sifton, businessman Spencer Toder, entrepreneur Timothy Shepard and real estate agent Jewell Kelly.

Missouri’s primary for U.S. Senate will take place in August.

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.