State Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, is still deciding whether to run for the U.S. Senate in 2022, saying he is “heavily processing and seeking input.”
“This is a decision that takes a lot of thought and careful preparation,” Schatz, the Missouri Senate’s president pro tem, told The Missourian Thursday.
Among the factors Schatz is considering are his family, faith and career, he said. But with the retirement of U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt after two six-year terms, as well as Schatz reaching the end of the two four-year terms he is limited to in the state Senate, Schatz said this situation presents a rare opportunity.
“These opportunities to run for this particular office don’t come around very often,” he said. “From a time perspective, for me, it fits my timeline because, obviously, I’m termed out, and the seat’s available. It doesn’t always work out that way. In politics, timing and opportunity sometimes converge at the right time.”
Schatz, who will be 58 this November, also sees himself as the right age to run.
“I wouldn’t think that I would want to be in Washington, D.C., if I was a younger man that had kids at home involved in sports and school,” he said. “The time away from your family, that’s a big sacrifice.”
With only one daughter still in college, Schatz’s five children are mostly grown. “All those things kind of line up to make it very interesting to look at this seat,” he said.
Schatz gained attention recently when the Franklin County Republican Central Committee issued a resolution criticizing his leadership on a gradual 17-cents-per-gallon gasoline tax increase, which was approved by both houses of the Legislature and signed by Gov. Mike Parson earlier this year. Although some critics called the tax illegal, Schatz said it was both constitutional and necessary to meet transportation needs.
Schatz was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2010. After serving two two-year terms, he was elected to the state Senate in 2014, winning a second four-year term in 2018.
Schatz is owner of Schatz Underground Inc., a telecommunications utility contracting company.
The race for the Republican Party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate seat remains fluid, with Congressman Billy Long, who represents southwest Missouri, announcing earlier this month that he is running. Long and Schatz, if he runs, would join a crowded field with Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt; former Gov. Eric Greitens; U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler; and Mark McCloskey, the St. Louis personal injury lawyer who gained national attention after he and his wife waved guns at protesters who marched near their home last year.
Schmitt has been the top fundraiser thus far in the campaign, bringing in $1.3 million between when he was announced for the race in late March and the June 30 fundraising deadline, according to the Federal Election Commission. Other Republican candidates also considering a run are Congressman Jason Smith, who has represented southeast Missouri and the Bootheel since 2011; John Brunner, a Republican candidate for Senate in 2012 and governor in 2016; and Carl Edwards, a Missouri-born NASCAR driver.
Democratic candidates include Marine veteran Lucas Kunce and former state Sen. Scott Sifton.
“I’m interested in running because I believe I offer an alternative to the candidates who are in the field,” Schatz said. “I think if we decide to get in this, we’ll make our case as to why we feel like we’d be a good choice.”