Ann Wagner Raises Republican Profile Before Easy Missouri Victory

Photograph by Kelley McCall/AP Photo

Former chair of the Missouri Republican party Ann Wagner, of St. Louis County, waits in a line of candidates filing for political office Tuesday morning, Feb. 28, 2012, at the secretary of state's office in Jefferson City, Mo.

It’s a measure of the high regard that national Republicans have for Ann Wagner, and how much of a runaway front-runner she is in a Missouri U.S. House race, that she delivered her party’s weekly address just 10 days before the Nov. 6 vote.

Wagner, whose remarks promoted Mitt Romney and attacked President Barack Obama’s policies, is a heavy favorite to succeed Republican Todd Akin, a candidate for the Senate, in a Republican-leaning district in the suburbs of St. Louis.

Wagner already has formed a leadership political action committee, Ann PAC, that can raise her political profile and make political donations to other Republicans. She’s already donating some of her own campaign funds to Republicans who are in closer races. Wagner’s campaign sent $2,000 on Oct. 24 to Rep. Dan Benishek of Michigan, who’s in a tight re-election campaign.

Though Wagner is a first-time candidate for Congress, she’s been active in Missouri and national Republican politics for decades. She led the Missouri Republican Party and was co-chair of the Republican National Committee during President George W. Bush’s first term. Wagner was U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg during Bush’s second term, an acknowledgement of her political connections. She made an unsuccessful bid for the RNC chairmanship in January 2011.

Wagner would help Republicans narrow a partisan gap in female representation in Congress. Of the 73 women currently in the House, 49 are Democrats and 24 Republicans. Missouri probably will have three female Republicans in Congress next year, as incumbents Jo Ann Emerson and Vicky Hartzler heavily favored to win new terms.


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