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Congresswoman Ann Wagner On Her Nationally Watched Bid For Reelection

David Kovaluk
St. Louis Public Radio
Congresswoman Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, poses for a portrait in 2019.

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner is the latest guest on Politically Speaking. The Ballwin Republican talked with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum about her competitive race for reelection against state Sen. Jill Schupp.

Wagner represents Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District, which takes in portions of St. Louis, St. Charles and Jefferson counties.

Her contest against Schupp is considered one of the more competitive House matchups in the nation, with some political prognosticators signaling the race is a tossup. You can listen to Schupp’s Politically Speaking episode here.

Here’s what Wagner had to say on the show:

  • The 2nd District, which was previously a Republican stronghold, has become much more competitive in the era of President Donald Trump. She also discussed whether Trump’s sagging poll numbers will make her reelection bid against Schupp more difficult.
  • While House members do not vote on Supreme Court nominees, Wagner provided her opinion about Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
  • Stalled efforts to pass a new stimulus bill to deal with the far-reaching impact of the coronavirus. Wagner voted for a number of pieces of legislation that sought to deal with the economic and health care impacts of the virus.
  • America’s future involvement in Afghanistan. Wagner’s son Raymond serves in the Army, and Wagner is a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Wagner has been a prominent figure in Missouri Republican Party politics for years. She served as chairwoman of the state GOP in the 2000s and played a major role in Roy Blunt’s successful bid for the Senate in 2010. President George W. Bush appointed Wagner ambassador to Luxembourg in 2005.

Wagner took the plunge into electoral politics in 2012 when she ran to succeed Todd Akin in the 2nd Congressional District. Eight years ago, that district leaned decidedly Republican, and Wagner had little trouble dispatching Democratic opponents in 2014 and 2016.

But things changed in 2018 when Wagner ran against Democrat Cort VanOstran. Even though VanOstran did not have the crucial financial backing of groups like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he came within about 4 percentage points of unseating Wagner.

This time around, Schupp does have the backing of outside Democratic groups that are spending prodigiously on her behalf. Republican groups are also helping Wagner, marking the first time that national parties have gotten involved in a local GOP congressional race since the 2008 election in the now-defunct 9th Congressional District.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Ann Wagner on Twitter: @AnnLWagner

Music: “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.