I never thought how much we’d miss Roy Blunt.

When he announced that he won’t seek reelection next year, I thought that’s fine. He has been in Congress for 24 years, after all, so he’ll have a nice pension, plus Social Security and Medicare.

And it’s not as though he has been a statesperson. He has been against just about every piece of progressive legislation this century. He doesn’t accept the science of climate change or the need for gun control.

But he did distinguish himself with a gracious little speech in his role as master of ceremonies at Joe Biden’s inauguration. He didn’t buy into the fantasy that the presidential election was stolen. And the only time I ever met him, he was visiting the Food Bank to show his support.

All in all, then, he’s the kind of Republican we’ve elected for the past 40 years or so. His predecessor was Kit Bond.

Now, look at who his successor ls likely to be.

The first hat in the ring belongs to Eric Greitens. You remember him. He resigned as governor to avoid impeachment over scandal involving nude photographs of a woman who wasn’t his wife, suggestions of blackmail and allegations of electoral impropriety. He boasts of his service as a Navy SEAL, but he appears to have shed his principles when he took off the uniform.

His main competitor so far is Eric Schmitt, who was appointed our attorney general in the shakeup that gave us Mike Parson as governor. Schmitt has made headlines not by doing any actual law enforcement but by joining the failed Republican lawsuit seeking to overturn Biden’s election and by suing China for exporting the virus. He bills himself as a devout Trumpian.

What we know for sure is that Blunt’s successor as our senior senator will be Joshua David Hawley.

That’s the Hawley who ran for the Senate less than a year after being elected attorney general by attacking those “ladder-climbing politicians” who just use one office to reach for a higher one. His ambition to be president took a hit when he led the campaign to overturn the election and raised a closed-fist salute to the mob about to invade the Capitol.

So that’s where we’ve come. The state that once was represented in the Senate by Harry Truman has handed his seat to Josh Hawley. From Jack Danforth and Kit Bond, we’re heading toward Greitens or Schmitt.

Roy, we’re going to miss you.

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