The Kansas City Star
WASHINGTON — The St. Louis lawyer who brandished a firearm at Black Lives Matter protesters last year has officially entered the 2022 race for Missouri’s open Senate seat.
Mark McCloskey tweeted he would have “a huge announcement” on Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show Tuesday evening, but his Senate campaign website went live hours before the appearance.
“Mark has never before run for political office, but he has now answered the call of public duty and is running for the United States Senate from Missouri to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Roy Blunt,” his website says.
“Mark is a Conservative outsider who will bring backbone and guts to the US Senate to continue fighting for President Trump’s agenda.”
McCloskey officially filed a campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday. The first-time candidate joins the race with former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, both of whom announced their bids on the same cable channel.
McCloskey, 64, and his wife, Patricia McCloskey, became conservative celebrities last year after they pointed firearms at Black Lives Matter protesters that had entered their private road in St. Louis. The protesters were headed toward then-St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house.
The couple were charged with a class E felony for unlawful use of a weapon after the incident, but Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has already promised to pardon them if they are found guilty in the still-pending case.
The couple appeared at last year’s Republican National Convention after then-President Donald Trump asked Parson to intervene in their case.
McCloskey has engaged in conspiracy-mongering about the 2020 presidential election, claiming on Twitter three days after Jan. 6 Capitol riot that Trump “won the legitimate vote.”
He sparked chatter about a potential Senate run last month with a speaking appearance at the Jackson County Republican Committee’s annual dinner, an event that also featured Schmitt and Greitens.
In his speech, McCloskey claimed he and his wife were warned that a mob would murder them and burn their house down when they held a second protest outside their home, an account vigorously denied by organizers and contradicted by contemporary press reports that described the rally as peaceful.
Former Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill derided McCloskey’s expected campaign announcement on Twitter Tuesday morning.
“The new Republican Party in my state. The only qualification you need to run for US Senate is to wave a gun around at Black people,” said McCaskill, who represented Missouri for two Senate terms and now serves as an analyst for MSNBC.
McCloskey and Greitens, who battled felony charges in 2018 before his resignation, were both charged by the same prosecutor, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who has become a favorite target of Missouri’s political right.
McCloskey has been represented in his his case by Al Watkins, the same lawyer who represented the ex-husband of Greitens’ alleged victim and who distributed the audio containing the allegations against Greitens to the media.
(The Kansas City Star’s Jonathan Shorman contributed to this report.)
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