Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo, announced last week he is set to retire at the end of his term and will not be running for reelection in 2022, sparking speculation about who will fill the important Senate seat.

Blunt’s junior colleague, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo, said he has enjoyed working with the longtime senator and was surprised when he announced his retirement. Hawley said he believes the Republicans are in position to retain the Senate seat and will have solid candidates looking to run.

“I’ve got every confidence that we’ll have a great Republican candidate and that we will hold this seat. This will remain a Republican seat, I just can’t imagine how it wouldn’t,” Hawley said.

Hawley said he has talked to former President Donald Trump and has assured him Republicans can and will hang on to Blunt’s seat.

When asked about the possibility of former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens running for the Senate, Hawley said he would not comment on specific candidates.

In 2018, Greitens resigned from the governor’s position after allegations regarding misuse of funds and sexual misconduct surfaced.

State Sen. Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby, said Blunt will be missed and he agreed with Hawley that there would be a qualified crop of Republican candidates for the seat.

“Sen. Blunt has been a fantastic senator ... he has helped move projects forward, he’s done a lot on broadband expansion within Missouri, Blunt has been a fantastic public servant,” Hegeman said.

With the current 50-50 split in the Senate, Hawley said the Missouri seat is important when trying to flip the tide to a Republican majority.

“I think that we’re going to retake the majorities, but we have to win the seat in Missouri to do that, and I have every confidence we will,” Hawley said.

Clayton Anderson can be reached at clayton.anderson@newspressnow.com. Follow him on twitter: @NPNowAnderson.

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