In a videotaped message posted to YouTube on Tuesday, Blunt said that "after a great deal of thought and prayer, and with the knowing that we've achieved virtually everything I set out to accomplish and more, I will not seek a second term in the upcoming election."
In claiming accomplishments in achieving budget surpluses, tax cuts and increased education spending, Blunt said that he met nearly all of his goals in his first four-year term - and thus there is "not the same sense of mission for a second." Blunt, 37, also expressed a desire to spend more time with his wife and their young son.
Though the governor cast his first three years in a positive light, Blunt has been hampered by mediocre approval ratings and had been polling poorly against Democratic state Attorney General Jay Nixon, who long prepared to challenge Blunt.
"My campaign for Governor has always been about moving Missouri forward," Nixon said in a statement. "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."
Candidates who wish to run in the August 5 primary election must meet a March 25 deadline to submit qualifying paperwork with Missouri election officials. One potential Republican candidate is six-term Rep. Kenny Hulshof , who represents the state's 9th District in northeastern Missouri. Hulshof seriously considered a run for governor in 2004 but declined to run.
Blunt's father is House Minority Whip Roy Blunt , who represents Missouri's southwestern 7th District and who said in a statement that he was proud of his son and that he respected 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."