Former Jan. 6 investigator and self-described "lifelong Republican" John Wood announced that he's running as an independent candidate for an open U.S. Senate seat in Missouri.
“I am not looking to be a spoiler. I’m in this race to win it,” Wood told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Tuesday. “I think that there is a coalition of common-sense voters that can be put together.”
Wood said he was running in part out of concern that former Gov. Eric Greitens would be the GOP nominee in the Republican-leaning state.
Greitens resigned as governor in 2018 amid a sexual misconduct scandal and a campaign finance felony charge that was later dropped. He has been accused of abuse by his ex-wife, and he released an inflammatory campaign ad this month in which he and a group of armed men in tactical gear are on the hunt for “RINOs” — Republicans in name only.
Greitens has denied the abuse allegations and defended the ad, which was removed from YouTube for violating the site's policies against violence and incitement.
“This RINO-hunting business has become a national story and I think that that advertisement is an embarrassment to our state, and it’s dangerous,” Wood told the paper. “I think Eric Greitens is a danger to women, he’s a danger to children, and he’s a danger to our democracy.”
Wood also criticized Democratic candidate Lucas Kunce, who has described himself as a "grenade" to be thrown into the Senate to change things up. Wood told the paper it appears "both parties’ primaries are becoming a race to the bottom to see who can be the most divisive and the most extreme.”
In a statement announcing his candidacy Wednesday, Wood said, “Missouri is at a crossroads, and my candidacy offers a common sense alternative."
Wood, 52, resigned from the House Jan. 6 committee last week to explore a possible run after he was wooed by Republican former Sen. John Danforth. Danforth said Wood "would be a uniter and would be very good at working across the aisle and trying to be a serious legislator instead of just somebody putting out press releases about how angry he is, which is the current style in politics," according to Wood's statement.
Wood is a former Danforth staffer and law clerk for Clarence Thomas who was a U.S. attorney in Missouri and worked in the George W. Bush White House. He was brought on to the Jan. 6 committee by Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.
He is running for a seat that's being vacated by the retiring Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican, and will need to collect 10,000 signatures by Aug. 1 to qualify for the November ballot, the Post-Dispatch reported.