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Former legislator to challenge US Sen. Roy Blunt

By Summer Ballentine The Associated Press

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt is running for another U.S. Senate term, and former Democratic state Sen. Scott Sifton is challenging him.

A spokeswoman for Blunt on Monday told The Associated Press that the two-term senator is planning to run shortly after Sifton announced his bid for the Senate seat.

Blunt, 71, is up for re-election in 2022. Voters first elected him to the U.S. Senate in 2010 and re-elected him in 2016.

Sifton, a 46-year-old from the St. Louis suburb of Affton, served in the Missouri Legislature from 2011 to 2020 until he was barred from seeking re-election because of term limits.

Sifton criticized Blunt and fellow Republican Missouri U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley’s responses to the riots at the U.S. Capitol last month, saying Blunt was “once again too weak to speak out.”

“I’ve always been willing to take on the toughest fights to do right by Missouri families,” Sifton said in a statement. “We need a lot more of that in Washington.”

Blunt in a statement after the mob stormed the Capitol said he supported President Donald Trump and his legal challenges to the election results, but said “there is not sufficient evidence to sustain the objections.”

In this 2020 file photo, Chairman Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., speaks at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing. A spokeswoman for Blunt on Monday confirmed he is running for another term. Former Democratic state Sen. Scott Sifton is challenging him.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

He called the attack on the Capitol “outrageous” and said it was a “sad day for America.”

Sifton is the only Democrat so far to announce a bid for Blunt’s seat.

The Democratic pipeline to higher office in Missouri is limited. State Auditor Nicole Galloway is the only Democratic statewide elected official after former U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill lost her seat to Hawley in 2018.

In this 2014 file photo, Missouri state Sen. Scott Sifton, D-St. Louis County, speaks on a bill in Jefferson City. Sifton is challenging Missouri Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, who is running for another term. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Sifton briefly ran for Missouri governor in 2019 but bowed out and backed Galloway instead. She lost the 2020 election to Republican Gov. Mike Parson.

Galloway was the top Missouri Democrat to endorse Sifton's Senate run on Monday.