State Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington

State Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, who has championed anti-federal government legislation, is no longer running for re-election.

Nieves told St. Louis Public Radio that his decision to withdraw from the race is largely based on wanting to spend more time with his family.

At press time Friday, State Rep. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, was the only candidate for the seat.

But Speaker of the House Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said he may run for the office.

Jones’ office issued a statement Thursday regarding Nieves withdrawing from the race:

“Sen. 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.”

The primary election is Aug. 5.

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 he had a good feeling when he filed that Nieves would withdraw from the race.

Schatz is in his fourth year as a state representative.

On Thursday afternoon, Nieves’ name was no longer listed as a candidate for the Senate District 26 seat on the secretary of state’s website.

Nieves did not return phone calls from The Missourian seeking comment.

St. Louis Public Radio reported that Nieves planned to attend Friday night’s Franklin County Lincoln Day Dinner in Washington, a Republican event.

Controversial Tenure

During his tenure, Nieves has sponsored bills to outlaw federal gun laws in Missouri.

He has also filed a bill that would prohibit the state from implementing certain policies tied to the U.N.’s Agenda 21.

Moreover, he has sponsored the Missouri Liberty Preservation Act, which would prohibit the state from participating in certain sections of the National Defense Authorization Act.

He has been a vocal supporter of Second Amendment rights, and his latest version of the Second Amendment Preservation Act has passed the Senate.

The bill would declare invalid federal gun laws that infringe on people’s rights to bear arms. Under the bill, it would be a misdemeanor offense for a federal agent to enforce or attempt to enforce federal gun laws declared invalid in Missouri.

If Nieves, who serves Franklin and west St. Louis County, would have been re-elected it would have been his last term due to term limits.

Nieves, a Pacific High School graduate and U.S. Navy veteran, was sworn into the Senate in January 2011, and prior to that was in the state House from 2002 to 2010.