“Missouri voters deserve better than the divisive, extreme choices they are being given by the two major parties in this race,” Wood said in a statement.
“Missouri deserves better. Missouri needs another option,” Wood added. “Missouri is at a crossroads, and my candidacy offers a commonsense alternative to the crazy extremes both parties are offering in this race.”
Independent candidates have typically struggled to gain support, but Wood, who calls himself a “conservative” and “life-long” Republican, could face a unique situation in the red state if former Gov. Eric Greitens wins the GOP Senate nomination.
“I am eager to launch this campaign focused on unifying our state and country rather than the extremist, even violent vision of the likely nominees for both parties,” said Wood in his statement. “I’m in this race to win it and am confident in our path to victory in November.”
Wood also benefits from the support of a powerful ally, former Missouri GOP Sen. John Danforth, who set up a Super PAC, Missouri Stands United, to back him. Danforth did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Before joining the House panel, Wood worked as general counsel for the US Chamber of Commerce, US attorney for the Western District of Missouri, and in private practice. He previously served in a number of high-ranking roles in the George W. Bush administration: chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, deputy general counsel at the Office of Management and Budget, and counselor to Attorney General John Ashcroft. He also clerked for US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and worked as a staffer for Danforth in the early 1990s.
To qualify for the November 8 ballot, Wood must submit 10,000 signatures to the Missouri secretary of state’s office by August 1.