Missouri Treasurer Eric Schmitt said Tuesday he is backing a fellow Republican, Attorney General Josh Hawley, in the latter’s likely U.S. Senate bid.
Schmitt’s decision not to run means less competition for Hawley, the presumptive GOP front-runner, and clears the field for Republicans to choose someone to run against Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat seen as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country.
“We must unite and work together to defeat @clairemc. I hope you’ll join me in supporting @HawleyMO for #mosen” Schmitt said on Twitter, referring to McCaskill, Hawley and an online channel for discussion about the Missouri Senate race.
The bow-out earned Schmitt praise from some fellow Republicans, including former Missouri Sen. Jim Talent and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who called Schmitt “a brilliant conservative” and “a rising star,” respectively.
Hawley has formed an exploratory committee to run for U.S. Senate.