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St. Louis lawyer who waved rifle at protesters running for Senate in Missouri

Mark McCloskey joins a Republican primary field that includes former Gov. Eric Greitens.
Image: Mark McCloskey, Patricia McCloskey
Armed homeowners Mark and Patricia McCloskey stand in front their house as protesters march to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson's house on June 28.Laurie Skrivan / St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP file

Mark McCloskey, the St. Louis lawyer known for brandishing a rifle at Black Lives Matter protesters outside his home last year, announced his run for the Senate in Missouri on Tuesday.

McCloskey, a Republican, announced his candidacy on Tucker Carlson's Fox News program.

"I've always been a Republican, but I've never been a politician," McCloskey told Carlson. "But, you know, God came knocking on my door last summer disguised as an angry mob, and it really did wake me up."

McCloskey said he was inspired to run for office as he was rallying for former President Donald Trump.

"All we hear is talk, and nothing ever changes," he said. "You have to send people to D.C. who are willing to tell the truth and fight for our values."

McCloskey joins a GOP primary field that includes state Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Eric Greitens, the former governor who was chased from office in 2018 over allegations of campaign finance violations and sexual misconduct. Charges in both matters were dropped.

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt announced in March that he will not seek another term next year, triggering what could be an intense fight for the open seat.

Greitens, who also declared his candidacy on Fox News, has striven to align himself with supporters of Trump. He has tapped Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Trump campaign aide who is Donald Trump Jr.'s partner, as a national campaign chair. He is also a frequent guest on a daily podcast hosted by former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.

McCloskey and his wife, Patricia, made national headlines in June when they waved guns at people in their neighborhood who were peacefully protesting police brutality and the city's mayor after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

Their actions made them heroes in some GOP circles and earned them a speaking slot at Trump's Republican National Convention. They later pleaded not guilty to two felony charges. Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, has said he would pardon the couple if they are convicted.

Democrats in Missouri have struggled in recent statewide elections, but they see an opportunity in next year's Senate election, particularly if Republicans nominate the baggage-laden Greitens.