Count us among those who are disappointed at Sen. Roy Blunt’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022.
But we can’t say we are surprised. We’ve sensed an unease and frustration in Blunt as the Republican party and politics writ large evolve into something increasingly out of step with the down-to-earth former history teacher from Niangua, Missouri.
Blunt is a gentleman, not a flamethrower. He is an old-school, pragmatic public servant who cares more about getting things done than partisan messaging and the fire and fury that characterizes much of modern politics.
Dave Helling of the Kansas City Star called it right when he said Blunt is “Face the Nation” in a Sean Hannity world. In 2021 GOP politics, that’s hardly a recipe for victory.
Not that Blunt couldn’t have won again. He would have been the odds-on favorite to win reelection despite the shifts in his party and a probable primary opponent. We believe Blunt, 71, after nearly 50 years in public service — 26 in Congress at the end of his term — was ready to move on.
And that will be a loss for Missouri because Blunt has been an effective advocate for our state. He uses his power and influence to get things done for his constituents, which is a quaint notion in modern politics. He understands and genuinely cares about their issues. He is always approachable and relatable. He is one of us.
Even Democrats appreciate his efforts on behalf of our state. Former State Sen. Jeff Smith said you would be hard pressed to find a senator (and Senate staff) who worked harder for their state or reached out more consistently to local officials of the other party.
Smith is spot on regarding Blunt and his staff. There are few constituent service operations better than Roy Blunt’s team.
Blunt has been a frequent visitor to Washington, Franklin County and this newspaper. Before the pandemic, he was a regular at Cowan’s Restaurant where he genuinely enjoyed meeting constituents and discussing local issues. We always appreciated his willingness to listen — he has a talent for it.
We’ve also appreciated his willingness to do interviews with media outlets of all sizes, especially those in smaller markets like this one. When the Capitol was stormed on Jan. 6, we felt it important to get the perspective from someone who was actually there. Blunt didn’t hesitate to do an interview with this newspaper.
Blunt pledged to continue to work for Missouri during the last two years of his term. We have no doubt he will as he transitions from senator to statesman. We also hope he uses his position to advocate for his views of what is right for our state and nation moving forward.
We could use more of that now.