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One of the top Republican lawmakers in the Missouri General Assembly filed paperwork Monday declaring his intention to run for the U.S. Senate.

Senate President Pro Tem David Schatz, a Franklin County Republican, told the Independent in April that he was considering running to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt. At the time, he said he was concerned about the possibility of former Gov. Eric Greitens being the GOP nominee in 2022.

His move to file paperwork to enter the race was first reported by the Kansas City Star.

In a statement released Tuesday morning, Schatz took a jab at his potential rivals for the GOP nomination, saying "too many politicians are fakes and frauds."

"We'll never get our country out of this mess with fake politicians and their fake solutions," he said. "We have to stop passing our problems onto the next election or the next generation."

Vice president of a family-owned company that installs underground communication lines, Schatz won his first election in 2010, taking a seat in the Missouri House. He won election to the state Senate in 2014.

Because of term limits, he is barred from seeking another term in the state Senate next year.

In addition to Greitens, the GOP primary field includes Attorney General Eric Schmitt, lawyer Mark McCloskey and U.S. Reps. Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long.

Among his highest profile achievements during his tenure in the Legislature is a bill raising the state's gas tax to fund road and bridge repair. He has also recently taken up the cause of trying to outlaw so-called "grey-market" video gambling machines that have proliferated in the state.

Schatz managed to highlight his support for the gas tax hike in a news release Tuesday without every mentioning it was a tax increase.

He instead noted he was part of an effort to cut Missouri income taxes, then said "a fraction of income tax savings" helped "fund safety improvements for Missouri's roads and bridges."

He also touted his support for legislation seeking to block enforcement of federal gun laws and new restrictions on access to abortion.

"As the leader of the Missouri Senate," he said, "I've helped make Missouri the strongest pro-life, pro-second amendment, and pro-law enforcement state in the nation."

The Missouri Independent is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization covering state government and its impact on Missourians.

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