ABC News’ Teddy Davis and Talal Al-Khatib Report: Matt Blunt, Missouri’s Republican governor and the son of House Republican Whip Roy Blunt, announced Tuesday that he will not seek a second term.
Blunt sought to frame his decision as being motivated by a desire to spend more time with his family and a sense that he had accomplished all of his goals. But Blunt’s tenure has been marred by scandal, including allegations that his office improperly handled its e-mail messages.
Despite Blunt having a war chest totaling $4 million at the end of the year, the Democratic Governors Association saw the Missouri governor’s office as its top target in 2008.
"Missouri represents the best pick-up opportunity for Democrats. It still is," said Brian Namey, a spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association. Democratic Attorney General Jay Nixon, who was set to be Blunt’s main rival in the 2008 election, has $1.7 million in cash on hand. Nixon is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination for governor.
Currently, there are no big-name Republicans in the gubernatorial race. The filing deadline is in March, and the primary is set for August.
With Blunt out, the Republican names being floated by political handicappers include state treasurer Sarah Steelman, Rep. Kenny Hulshof, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, and former Sen. Jim Talent.
Blunt is a top backer of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and serves as one of his national co-chairs.