KSDK - Missouri Governor Matt Blunt issued a stunning announcement Tuesday: he will not run for re-election.
In a recorded speech released Tuesday, Blunt, sitting next to his wife, said he had accomplished what he set out to accomplish when he ran for governor.
Campaign ads had already been airing for his re-election, some aimed at Attorney General Jay Nixon, a likely nominee from the Democratic Party. Blunt had several million dollars available in his campaign fund.
His decision not to run for re-election surprised just about everyone, including other Republican statewide office holders. Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who had been rumored to be making a run to challenge Blunt, announced earlier Tuesday that she would run for re-election as Treasurer. A spokesperson, reached after Blunt's announcement, said they were surprised by the governor's decision and couldn't yet comment on whether she would run for governor.
Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, also a republican, said he would throw his hat in the ring as a candidate.
Kinder's officer issued the following statement: "As Lt. Governor and President Pro Tem I have brought fundamental change to state government. I have served as a change agent my entire career and look forward to continuing my positive leadership. Missourians deserve a strong economy to create new higher paying jobs, a world class education, and affordable and accessible health care. I am the right person to deliver the positive change Missourians deserve.
I am heartened by the outpouring of support and I will formally announce my plans for Governor in the coming weeks."
Candidates can officially file for the Missouri Primary on February 26th. The primaries for the governor's race are August 5th.
Gov. Blunt is expected to hold a news conference at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The office of Sen. Kit Bond issued this statement: “"Matt Blunt has served Missouri well. His work to bring new jobs to the state and make Missouri business-friendly has made a real difference. While his leadership will be missed I wish him, Melanie and Branch the best."
Blunt won election in 2004, narrowly defeating Claire McCaskill, who has since become a United States Senator.
Gov. Blunt is the son of U.S. Representative Roy Blunt of southwest Missouri. His father issued a statement saying, "I'm proud of the job Matt has done for our state. Under his leadership, Missouri went from a state that consistently lost jobs to a state that consistently created them - all while creating new opportunities for people of all walks of life. I respect his decision to spend this year being the best governor he can be in service of our state and its people, rather than letting the focus shift to pure politics."
Nixon issued the following written statement:
"My campaign for Governor has always been about moving Missouri forward. I will continue to focus on changing the direction of our state so that more Missourians have access to health care, more Missourians can find good-paying jobs and more Missouri children can get the quality education they deserve. I wish Gov. Blunt and his family all the best in the future."
Gov. Blunt graduated from the Naval Academy in 1993, served in the U.S. Navy, then started his political career in Missouri when he was elected a state representative. He then became the state's Secretary of State before becming the state’s governor.
Blunt, now 37 years old, became a father in office, when his wife, Melanie gave birth to their first child, William Branch Blunt in 2005.
The Governor's Office issued the following news release:
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Matt Blunt today released a television address to Missourians announcing that having achieved virtually everything he set out to accomplish when he ran for governor he will not seek a second term.
In his address, Gov. Blunt cites among his accomplishments turning an inherited $1.1 billion deficit into three straight surpluses without a tax increase, cutting taxes, ending the education cuts of the past and providing budgets that will deliver $1.2 billion to universities, classrooms and students, rescuing the broken Medicaid system and transforming it into a network of care for vulnerable Missourians and helping turn record job-loss into nearly 90,000 new jobs.
The governor called a news conference tomorrow morning at 9:30 am where he is expected to discuss his announcement.
A video file of the governor's television address is attached and is also available at .
The following is a transcript of Gov. Blunt's television address:
Fellow Missourians. Let me speak directly with you.
In 2004 I promised leadership, vision and change. It was more than a slogan, it defined a mission. You elected me to chart a new course.
And together we are creating a future of greater opportunity for all Missourians.
We inherited a budget that was $1.1 billion dollars in the red and turned it into three straight surpluses without increasing taxes. In fact, we cut taxes.
In contrast to the old education withholdings and cuts, my budgets will have delivered 1.2 billion new dollars to our universities, classrooms and students.
A broke and broken Medicaid system is being transformed into a network of care offering vulnerable Missourians healthier lives at a cost taxpayers can afford.
We have turned record job-loss into nearly 90,000 new jobs.
Hundreds of millions of dollars in waste has been eliminated and we reduced the size of government.
What we set-out to achieve four years ago has been accomplished.
Once when asked if he were running for re-election another governor responded, "Yes, I like being governor." When I read that I thought at the time that I never wanted to run for any office just to hold it. I did not run for governor to have a title, but to bring change to state government.
The habit of politicians is to remain in office and the desire to prove oneself in the next election is strong. After a great deal of thought and prayer, and with the knowledge that we have achieved virtually everything I set out to accomplish, and more, I will not seek a second term in the upcoming election. Because I feel we have changed what I wanted to change in the first term there is not the same sense of mission for a second.
At the end of my term, I will have served twenty years in public service, ten years in the United States Navy followed by ten years in state government. Melanie and our son William Branch mean the world to me. I have spent more time away from them than I would like. We are ready for the next chapter in our lives and I am looking forward to spending more time with them.
Some will wrongly think that this is a retirement from the effort to improve the lives of Missourians. But they will have failed to understand that the greatest and wisest leadership of our state is not housed within the ornate offices of the Capitol. It springs from our citizens, communities, churches and institutions of private life.
There are new and important initiatives we can achieve this year.
Their success will help keep the change working for Missouri families.
I will focus on these initiatives.
To serve as your governor is a great privilege. I will continue to work every day to be worthy of the faith and confidence you have placed in me.
Thank you for listening, and may God continue to bless our great state.