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Wagner chooses her home as launching pad for congressional quest

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 10, 2011 - Former Missouri Republican chair and ambassador Ann Wagner apparently hopes to send a message about her roots with her plans to launch her campaign for Congress from her home in Ballwin.

Wagner announced Thursday that she plans to kick off her campaign July 7 with a gathering at her home -- instead of the standard venue of a hall, restaurant or public park.

Wagner said in a statement she plans to emphasize her commitment to bring "strong, effective and conservative leadership to Washington, D.C. and the 2nd congressional district."

Her decision to use her residence would appear to be a jab at the only other official candidate for the 2nd District seat, Ed Martin, who lives in the city of the St. Louis, outside the 2nd District. Martin, a lawyer who narrowly lost a bid for the 3rd District last fall, has said that he and his family plan to have a home within the 2nd sometime next year. Candidates for the U.S. House are not required to live within their districts, but it is usually politically prudent to do so.

The third expected candidate for the 2nd -- state Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield -- has yet to announce when she will launch her bid for the post, which is being vacated by Republican incumbent Todd Akin, R-Wildwood, who is running for the U.S. Senate in 2012.

Republican sources say that more candidates are expected before filing offically gets under way next February.

Wagner has emphasized that she has been a county resident for decades and a lifelong resident of the region -- except for those three-plus years that she was the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, under President George W. Bush.

Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.