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John Wood says he's the Republican-thinking, never-Trump U.S. Senate candidate for Missouri

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KCUR
Independent candidate for U.S. Senate John Wood talks to Steve Kraske on KCUR's Up To Date.

Backed by millions of dollars from a PAC led by former U.S. Sen. Jack Danforth, independent Senate candidate John Wood views himself as the “common-sense alternative” to what he calls the extreme wing of the Republican Party.

A lifelong conservative, Missouri Senate candidate John Wood is running this November as an independent against Republican Eric Schmitt and Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine.

While he isn’t running as a Republican, the first-time political candidate is by no means shying away from his conservative viewpoints. Citing former President Ronald Reagan and former U.S. Sen. Jack Danforth as his political heroes, Wood supports lowering taxes, less government regulation and reduced spending. He also agrees with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Where he differs with the modern day-GOP is the threat he believes the party currently poses to American democracy. Wood recently spent time working for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) as the senior investigative counsel with the Jan. 6 committee, and says he closely aligns with the congresswoman politically.

“I've been friends with her for a long time. I share her conservative views and her conservative values,” Wood said. “But I also share her concern about former President Trump, and I believe deeply in democracy and our constitution.”

Earlier this week, Rep. Cheney lost her primary election to a Trump-backed opponent. Wood said that outcome is an example of why he didn’t run as a Republican.

“The same probably would have been true here in Missouri in a Republican primary where, unfortunately, the primaries tend to be driven by the bases of both parties,” he said. “But I think the general election, there's an opportunity to appeal to a lot more people who are kind of in the mainstream.”

If elected to the U.S. Senate, Wood said he would speak for his constituents, while he argued that Republican candidate Schmitt is “entirely beholden to Donald Trump.”

“[Schmitt] has pledged that if he goes to the Senate, he's going to continue to investigate election fraud in the 2020 election,” Wood said. “Everything he's doing seems to be to try to curry favor with our former president. What Missourians need is somebody who's not going to speak for Donald Trump, who's not going to speak for Joe Biden or Chuck Schumer, as my Democratic opponent will, but will speak for Missourians.”

If he was in the Senate for this week’s vote on the Inflation Reduction Act, Wood said he would have sided with Republicans, voting against the $737 billion climate-heavy legislation. But he doesn’t call himself a climate change denier — he simply would have gone about fighting this issue differently.

“I do think that it's necessary to spend some money to invest in clean energy. I also favor market solutions,” Wood said. “I think a way to have consumers have to bear the cost of fossil fuels is important. And so I think something along the lines of carbon pricing is necessary.”

Wood was convinced to take his first foray into electoral politics by former Sen. Danforth’s belief that Wood has a real chance to win.

“The fact that Sen. Danforth believes so strongly in it and is willing to invest not just his time but also some of his personal resources suggested that it could be a viable route,” Wood said. “And so I decided to throw my hat in the ring.”

  • John Wood, independent candidate for U.S. Senate
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As Up To Date’s associate producer, I construct daily conversations that give our listeners context to the issues of our time. I strive to provide a platform that holds those in power accountable, while also spotlighting the voices of Kansas City’s creatives and visionaries that may otherwise go unheard. Email me at zach@kcur.org.
When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
Elizabeth Ruiz is a freelance producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact her at elizabeth@kcur.org or on Twitter at @er_bentley_ruiz
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