House speaker opts against state Senate run

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones says he won't run for a state Senate seat being vacated this year and will focus instead on a 2016 campaign for an unspecified statewide office.

Jones, a Republican from Eureka, had previously expressed interest in running to succeed Republican Sen. Brian Nieves, who is not seeking re-election in his eastern Missouri district.

But in a statement released Friday, Jones said a Senate race would "greatly distract" him from important work. Term limits prevent Jones from seeking re-election to the House.

The reliably Republican Senate district includes Franklin County and part of St. Louis County.

Democrat Lloyd Klinedinst and Republican Rep. Dave Schatz, of Sullivan, are currently the only two candidates to file for the seat. Candidate filing closes at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

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