So far, five Republican senators have announced they will not launch re-election campaigns in the future. The choice for some establishment Republicans to leave D.C. opens the door for more Trump allies to enter the race and gives the potential for Trump to gain even more influence in the party.
Mike Biundo, a Republican consultant and veteran of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, told Fox News the wave of GOP retirements definitely tees Trump up to garner even more power within the Republican Party. Multiple Republican contenders have already launched campaigns that adopt many of Trump’s America First policies.
Fox News reports:
The trend appears to be most evident in Ohio, where the Republican rush is on to succeed Portman in a state that Trump won by eight points in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. The two major Republican candidates to already jump into the race – former state GOP chair Jane Timken and former state treasurer and former Senate candidate Josh Mandel – have both made their support for Trump centerpieces of their campaigns.
“As your senator I would advance the Trump agenda without fear or hesitation,” Timken emphasized as she announced her candidacy. And Mandel stressed that “I’m going to Washington to fight for President Trump’s America First Agenda,” as he jumped into the race.
Another major Trump supporter, Ohio businessman and 2018 Senate candidate Mike Gibbons, appears close to launching a campaign in the coming weeks. And Rep. Warren Davidson, a member of the far right House Freedom Caucus, is mulling a bid.
In Missouri, former Republican Gov. Eric Greitens – who resigned amid multiple scandals in 2018 – was floating a Trump-style primary challenge against Blunt ahead of the senator’s retirement announcement. And Rep. Jason Smith, a major Trump supporter, is being floated as a possible candidate.
Yesterday, Roy Blunt announced his retirement. Senator Blunt now joins Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Richard Shelby of Alabama who also announced they would not launch re-election campaigns. North Carolina’s Richard Burr said during his 2016 campaign he would not seek re-election in 2022.