WASHINGTON — Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2022, becoming the fifth Republican senator to announce plans to retire at the end of the current Congress.
“After 14 general election victories — three to county office, seven to the United States House of Representatives, and four statewide elections — I won’t be a candidate for re-election to the United States Senate next year,” Blunt said in a video message.
As Republicans settle into the Senate minority after controlling the chamber for six years, departing lawmakers are prime targets to vote for bipartisan compromises. Unlike Josh Hawley, the junior senator from Missouri who has come into Congress as a conservative firebrand, Blunt has been a fixture of the establishment wing of the party.
Blunt, 71, who has served in Congress since 1997 including two terms in the Senate, said he has “tried to do my best” to represent Missourians over the last few decades.
“In almost 12,000 votes in the Congress, I’m sure I wasn’t right every time, but you really make that decision based on the information you have at the time,” he said.
Blunt’s decision to retire comes as members of the Republican Party struggle to figure out their next steps in the wake of Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential election. It also follows the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and Blunt’s vote to acquit the former president following the House’s second impeachment of him.
The GOP senator first served in the House from 1997 until 2011, during which time he briefly served as House majority leader and as House GOP whip. In the Senate, he has served as chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and serves as chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee.
Sens. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., have recently announced plans to step down in 2022, as well. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., had previously said he won’t seek re-election, either.
Rebecca Shabad is a congressional reporter for NBC News, based in Washington.