Missouri Rep. Jason Smith — who represents Texas County — announced Wednesday that he’s running for reelection to the House of Representatives, forgoing a competitive Republican primary for U.S. Senate. In a video posted to Twitter, Smith talked about his role on the powerful House Budget Committee, which helps determine how Congress should allocate money. Should Republicans win control of the House in 2022, Smith would likely become chairman. “The stakes are too high right now to have some politician taking time off from the fight to play the political ladders game,” Smith said. “Missouri families need help right now. That’s why today I’m asking for your support to continue the fight as your representative in the people’s house.”
Smith, who represents the Bootheel region in southeast Missouri, was considered a contender in the race to replace U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, who is retiring. In September, he launched a statewide ad that was interpreted as a way to build name recognition. He also visited Trump in New York City in May and held a fundraiser at his Mar-A-Lago resort.
But speculation ebbed toward winter as the other candidates in the race continued to build their financial reserves and boost their own name recognition at forums throughout the state. Smith’s reelection video makes heavy use of ladder imagery, kicking off with a statement that too many politicians are trying to climb the political ladder. The imagery is reminiscent of a campaign ad by U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, when he launched his campaign for Missouri Attorney General. Hawley then climbed the political ladder and ran for U.S. Senate before completing his term. Smith’s campaign did not respond to a question asking if his video was a reference to Hawley’s 2016 ladder ad. Smith’s video also criticizes Joe Biden on several issues.
Smith has one contender in his race so far, Republican Jeremy Dennison, a pipefitter who has $9,940 in his campaign account compared to Smith’s $1.5 million.