Rep. Billy Long latest Missouri U.S. Senate candidate to court Donald Trump endorsement

Regional News

President Donald Trump takes with Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo., after giving his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 at the Capitol in Washington. (Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

ST. LOUIS–In a week that saw the unofficial GOP primary field of candidates for Missouri’s 2022 U.S. Senate race grow, another candidate in the race is talking about a recent trip to Florida hoping to lay the groundwork for an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.

U.S. Representative Billy Long told a Columbia, Mo radio station that he and Kellyanne Conway, the former Trump campaign manager and aide, now an advisor to Long’s campaign, went to Mar-A-Lago on Monday urging him to get involved in the primary.

“I don’t have the endorsement yet, I don’t know it will ever come,” Long told 93.9 The Eagle. I don’t know that the guy’s gonna endorse in this race. I mean he does what he wants to do. But I gave it my best effort and laid out everything.”

Long said Trump identified “a couple” of candidates who he would not endorse, although Long declined to name them.

In addition to Long, fellow U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, attorney Mark McCloskey have declared their candidacies. Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz announced his entry into the Republican fray earlier this week.

One potential candidate not yet in the primary field could also be in play for a Trump endorsement. U.S. Rep. Jason Smith has also met privately with the former President, and has hired Trump’s 2020 campaign manager. In the last weekend of the 2020 presidential race, Smith joined Trump family members in ‘get out the vote’ efforts in Pennsylvania.

But Smith has a different calculation to make, according to FOX2 political analyst John Hancock. Enter the Senate race, where he “would be a likely person to get the Trump endorsement, that’s worth quite a lot, particularly in a multi-candidate field,” or stay in the House, where he’ll be a prohibitive favorite for re-election, and potentially, next in line to be the House Budget chairman if Republicans win control.

The first day to file is February 22, 2022.

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