Roy Blunt is one of several Republican senators looking to distance themselves from Donald Trump, while arguing that a GOP Senate could counteract either a Trump or Hillary Clinton presidency.
“I think I could be the 51st Republican in the Senate,” the Missouri senator said in an interview with The Associated Press. “And every voter that cares about the courts, that cares about what would happen if either Secretary Clinton or Donald Trump is president — there are lots of reasons to think about why you would want a Republican Senate in all of those circumstances.”
Blunt faces Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat, in November. Kander is an Iraq War veteran and was elected secretary of state in 2012 after serving two terms in the state house. The latest RealClearPolitics polling average has Blunt up by about 5 percentage points.
Blunt’s seat is one of 24 that Republicans are defending this year, compared to 10 for the Democrats. Several of those 24 seats are in states that Democratic President Barack Obama won in 2008 or 2012 or both.
While Missouri has not backed a Democratic candidate for president since 1996, its senior senator, Claire McCaskill, is a Democrat. Although the Show Me State has swung Republican in recent years, some Democrats say Trump’s candidacy and controversial statements, along with Kander’s fundraising abilities, could put the state in play.