EXCLUSIVE: Former Jan. 6 committee investigator John Wood, who is running as an independent in the Missouri Senate race and said he would caucus with Republicans if elected, hopes to unite residents in the state and across the country.
“I’m a lifelong Republican and conservative, but the primaries for both parties have become a race to see who can become the most divisive and the most extreme,” Wood told Fox News Digital in an interview Friday. “As evidenced by the fact that all of the candidates on the Republican side seem determined, still, to try to want to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.”
Next week, Missouri will hold primary elections in the state for both political parties. Both the Republican and Democratic primary elections for Senate in the state feature a crowded field of candidates, including former GOP front-runner Eric Greitens, who, before his resignation, formerly served as the 56th governor of Missouri from 2017 to 2018.
As an independent candidate in the race, Wood’s name will appear on the ballot for November’s general election.
Noting Greitens’ position in polling and his “chance of winning the [Republican] primary” election next week, Wood said he chose to “take a different route” with his candidacy in the race.
“I’m focused on trying to, you know, unite Americans and unite Missourians and help heal our country from a lot of the divisions we’re experiencing right now because we’re more divided than we’ve ever been during my lifetime,” he said. “I wanna actually get things done in Washington… it seems like the candidates from both parties are determined to go to Washington and just try to tear things down.”
Wood said he is receiving a “positive reception” from voters in Missouri who, according to him, are glad to have someone in the race who is a “common-sense conservative” as they remain laser-focused on the economy and rising inflation.
If elected as an independent, and in order to receive committee assignments, Wood would be forced to caucus with either the Democrats or the Republicans. Unlike elected independent Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine, Wood said he “will caucus with the Republicans.”
Some Democrats in the state have expressed concern over whether Wood’s candidacy in the race could negatively impact their preferred candidate’s chances of winning the election. Wood dismissed the concern, arguing that Republicans are saying the same thing and that he is “in this race to win it.”
“I also hear Republicans saying that I could take votes away from the Republican nominee, so I’m really just worried about trying to get enough votes to win, not who I take more votes from,” he said. “I’m in this race to win it… I’m not worried about who I take more votes from. I’m just worried about getting enough to make sure that I beat both the Republican and the Democrat.”
Asked about the recent hearings held by the House select committee that is investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol protests, as well as how the committee’s findings could impact the Missouri Senate race, Wood said he is “not really sure” and concluded that the hearings provided Americans with an opportunity to hear “what happened” on that day.
“I think the hearings are very significant in terms of informing the American people of what happened on January 6th and how we can never have something like that happen again,” he said. “It’s hard to say how they’re gonna impact the race, though. I’m not really sure, but I think it’s an opportunity for people to have seen that I put my country ahead of my political party and I’m always going to put the country first.”
The Jan. 6 committee, which consists of nine House members, including seven Democrats and two Republicans, is vice chaired by Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who will face off against a Trump-backed candidate in a tough Aug. 16 primary election in Wyoming.
Wood, even throughout his time as investigator for the committee, has shared a friendship with members of the Cheney family and said he would be “honored” to receive an endorsement from Cheney, who has faced backlash over her criticism and vote to impeach former President Donald Trump.
“I’d be honored to have her endorsement,” he said. “She’s said some very positive things about me that we’ve got up on the website. I’m honored to have worked for her.”