Roy Blunt, then age 23, won a race for Greene County clerk in 1973. He was elected secretary of state in 1984 and re-elected in 1988.
In 1992, he ran for governor but finished second in a five-way Republican primary. He had 163,719 votes compared to 183,968 for the winner, ex-state Attorney General William L. Webster.
Webster, bloodied by Blunt in a negative advertising battle and dogged by a federal corruption probe, was trounced in the general election by then-Lt. Gov. Mel Carnahan.
Blunt retreated from politics to head Southwest Missouri State University for three years, then sprang back into action when GOP congressman Mel Hancock announced his retirement.
Blunt won the 1996 election handily with 65 percent of the vote. Blunt won re-election in 1998 with 73 percent; in 2000 with 74 percent and in 2002 with 75 percent.