State Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, is no longer running for re-election.
In recent days he has indicated on his Facebook page that he would drop out of the race.
State Rep. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, is now the only candidate for the seat.
But Missouri Speaker of the House Tim Jones, R-Eureka, is expected to file to run against Schatz in the Aug. 5 primary.
This afternoon, Nieves’ name was no longer listed as a candidate for the Senate District 26 seat on the Secretary of State’s website.
Nieves was not immediately available for comment Thursday afternoon.
Schatz told The Missourian Thursday afternoon that he was anticipating that Nieves would drop out of the race. Schatz added that he admires Nieves’ public service in the Legislature as well as in the military.
He wished Nieves and his family the best in the future.
Schatz noted that he did not want to disrespect Nieves by filing for the Senate seat before he withdrew from the race. But Schatz said when he filed for the office he had a good feeling Nieves would withdraw from the race.
Schatz is in his fourth year as a state representative.
Jones' office issued a statement after Nieves withdrew from the race. Jones' statement says, “Senator Nieves informed me today that he will be withdrawing from the 26th Senatorial race. Brian strongly encouraged me to consider running as he believes I would be the only true conservative in the race. Based upon these developments, I will now take these next several days to discuss this opportunity with my family, my closest friends and supporters.”
Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, signaled over the weekend that he was going to withdraw from his re-election bid to the Missouri Senate and throw his support behind House Speaker Tim Jones.
Nieves made the announcement in a lengthy Facebook post styled “To my friend Tim Jones.”
In the post he said he would make his final decision before Friday’s Lincoln Day event but in the last line he said “. . . well, I just hope you’ll allow Tim Jones to become your next senator!”
Nieves filed for re-election last month on the first day candidates could file for office and suggested publicly he wanted to complete another term in the Senate. But privately, he has been telling Republicans he was considering a business opportunity that could cause him to drop out of the race.
State Rep. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, said he filed for the 26th Senate District seat after Nieves told him there was a “50 percent” chance he would pull out of the race.
So far, he is the only other candidate to file for the seat but Republican sources say Jones was preparing to enter the race Thursday or Friday.
Nieves said that serving in the Senate had been a blessing but was also taxing on his family and that “maybe it’s time for me to serve in a different capacity.
“My three children are champions and have figured out how to make it without Dad being around for the majority of their last 12 school years. They’ve endured me missing recitals, ball games, concerts, and teacher conferences. My family is 100 percent behind me in whatever decision I make and I love them for that,” Nieves wrote on the social media site.
Nieves heaped praise on Jones who he noted had been his friend for 12 years and also took some jabs at Schatz in his Facebook post.
He called the speaker a “true blue conservative,” and “a man who did not support an $8 Billion dollar road tax hike, the largest tax increase in our state’s history, like my current opponent did, a man who has not been the chief sponsor of legislation requiring you to be treated like a criminal when buying Sudafed as my current opponent has.”
Nieves criticized the “establishment” saying they were spreading rumors about his intentions. Nieves and Jones denied published reports that suggested they were planning to subvert the primary process by allowing Nieves to withdraw after the filing period closed, meaning the 26th District Republican Senatorial Committee would pick the nominee and not the voters in the August primary.
“These rumors and whisper campaigns were all false! They tried to find someone to run against me and unfortunately we now see that someone has! We may never know what role, if any, these political hacks played in the decision made by a local representative to run against me and I pray it was not that same old ‘committee of they’ who caused this challenge to my incumbency.”
Jones, who resides in Eureka, is completing his last year in the House because of term limits and is positioning himself for a statewide run in 2016. He has raised close to a million dollars for a campaign run for a yet-to-be-disclosed office.
Local Republican sources who asked not to be identified said Jones tried to broker several job swaps with Schatz, State Rep. Dave Hinson and county officials in order that he could run unopposed in the primary.
Jones previously said he would be “very interested” in running for the 26th district Senate seat but only if Nieves decided not to run.
Jones said there were meetings with a number of state and county office holders after it was established that Schatz could not meet the residency requirements to run in the 61st House district. He said the purpose of the meetings was to determine who was interested in what office and to determine if a primary race could be avoided.
“As a leader I got everyone together to see what their political interest might be and who was interested in what seat,” Jones said Tuesday afternoon. “The purpose was to determine if we could avoid a primary run which in 2010 and 2012 were expensive and ugly. Obviously, as a party, if we can avoid that scenario it would be better. There is nothing unusual about that.”