Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) spoke to the crowd at a campaign stop about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) attempts to derail his campaign in the 2022 Senate race. According to Long, McConnell tried to convince him to quit at least three times. “The very first time I went to see Mitch, which was early on, he said, ‘You all need to sit down and draw straws or draw high cards.' And I said, ‘I'm in.' I mean, I will do that today,” Long told the voters on Wednesday night. “And then, I've heard through Peter Kinder, former lieutenant governor who's backing Vicky Hartzler, that McConnell was trying to get me out of the race.”
Long later explained why he had confronted McConnell after learning of the second time he’d tried to stop Long in the contest. “So I went to McConnell's workplace that evening. I informed my scheduler that I told him, ‘Get me in to visit Mitch as soon as you can.' It generally takes between three and four weeks for him to visit. I was seen that afternoon by Mitch,” Long said.
He continued, “And I turned to Mitch and told him, ‘I understand you're trying to get me out of the race.’ And I added, ‘If you are, Mitch, I don't know why you didn't mention that to me.’ I decided that if you really want to take me off, I'd be like, ‘Hey, Billy, why don't [you] take a break?’ But somebody else would, and it'll be awesome. However, he replied, ‘Well, this thing does need to consolidate.’ We then have a chat for 35-40 minutes. And I said to him, ‘Mitch, when I raced the first time, I participated in an 8-way race. I had the best name in the race. I was supposed to be in ninth place in Congress.’ I replied, ‘I won by seven points… I'm gonna do the same thing again.’”
McConnell's efforts to convince Long to withdraw from this race may be a bid to take away votes from the former Missouri governor, Eric Greitens, the frontrunner in the race. McConnell has a personal stake in preventing Greitens’ candidacy because the former Missouri governor has campaigned to vote against McConnell in his role as Republican Senate chairman.