ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – Former Missouri Republican Party Chairwoman Ann Wagner announced she will be running for U.S. Representative in the 2nd congressional district.
Wagner made the announcement on the Mark Reardon show on KMOX 1120 Tuesday afternoon.
The second congressional district is the seat currently held by Congressman Todd Akin, but with redistricting, that district will change.
Wagner says she is running in the likely event that is an open seat and is not running against Congressman Todd Akin. U.S. Rep. Todd Akin is one of several Republicans considering a challenge to Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill next year.
Earlier Wagner announced she set up an exploratory committee for Congress via her website. She said the committee was “in the likely event Missouri’s Second Congressional District becomes an open seat in 2012.”
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Former Missouri Republican Party Chairwoman Ann Wagner took an initial step Tuesday toward a St. Louis-area congressional campaign while signaling that the incumbent, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, may be edging closer to a bid for U.S. Senate.
Wagner announced on her website that she has set up an exploratory committee for Congress “in the likely event Missouri’s Second Congressional District becomes an open seat in 2012.”
Akin, who has represented the 2nd District for a decade, is one of several Republicans considering a challenge to Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill next year. An Akin spokesman declined to say Tuesday whether a Senate campaign now is likely.
“Those are her words not the congressman’s,” said Akin spokesman Steve Taylor. But he added: “It’s no secret that Congressman Akin has been considering that and has received encouragement from many conservatives to do so.”
Missouri’s potential political shuffle comes as the state’s congressional districts are being redrawn. In the 2012 elections, Missouri will shrink from nine to eight districts, because the 2010 Census determined the state’s population grew more slowly than the nation’s.
The Republican-led state House and Senate are in charge of redrawing the congressional district boundaries but have been deadlocked partly because of a disagreement over how to divide suburban St. Louis. Under most proposals under consideration, the 2nd District would lose Lincoln County and part of St. Charles County on the northwest side of the St. Louis area and instead extend farther west and south. That means Akin could have to appeal to a couple hundred thousand new voters if he were to run again in a redrawn 2nd District.
Wagner also had been considering a U.S. Senate bid before shifting course to a congressional campaign. In her online announcement, Wagner criticized the growth of federal spending under President Barack Obama while noting that the local unemployment remains around 9 percent.
“The 2nd Congressional District is the place where my husband Ray and I grew up, went to school, raised our children, work and go to church,” Wagner said. “Now the future of the people and the place that we love is being threatened by failed leadership in Washington that is dragging us down a path of ruin.”
Wagner served as chairwoman of the Missouri Republican Party from 1999 until she was appointed ambassador to Luxembourg by former President George W. Bush in 2005. She held that position until Obama became president in 2009. She also was co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee from 2001 to 2005 and made an unsuccessful bid for RNC chair earlier this year.
Last year, Wagner served as co-chairwoman of Republican Roy Blunt’s successful U.S. Senate campaign. Despite her years of political experience, Wagner has not previously been a candidate for public office.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press