It was already a hard year for Mitch McConnell, having a public late-life crisis after being returned to minority status, and seeing his wife, the former transportation secretary, scrutinized for using their official positions to help a shipping company her family owns. Then Roy Blunt went and became the fifth GOP senator to retire.
Blunt cited his 23 years in the Capitol for the surprise retirement, not fear of the former social media influencer who resides at Mar-a-Lago. Blunt, an affable insider married to an affable lobbyist for Kraft, had done what it takes to avoid a Trump-inspired revenge primary: He voted not to impeach Trump (twice) and this week voted against the signature legislation of the new president who the former president still won’t acknowledge is living in the White House. You have to keep paying up. What you haven’t done for Trump lately can kill you.
With Blunt’s retirement, Democrats’ chances of increasing their slim Senate majority and depriving McConnell of regaining his went up. It still won’t be easy. Missouri is Trump country, and Republicans won the seat of former Sen. Claire McCaskill in 2018, electing up-and-coming man on the move Josh Hawley, who’s gone hard-core MAGA to keep it.