Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler says she will not compete for the Senate seat held by Democrat Claire McCaskill, but will instead run for reelection in her 4th District.
The 56-year-old four term Republican representative was thought to be looking at the Senate race after 2nd District GOP Representative Ann Wagner removed herself as a possible candidate.
USA Today reported over a week ago that Hartzler was receiving phone calls from wealthy donors and Republican strategists asking if she was planning to run for the Senate.
In a statement, Hatzler said “After much prayer and discussion with my family I have decided to seek re-election to the United States House of Representatives. I love the great people of the 4th Congressional District and feel honored to be their voice in Washington. I believe the best way to continue to serve them is by taking their common-sense ideas and Heartland values to Washington.”
State Attorney General Josh Hawley has been openly encouraged by political operatives to run for the Senate against McCaskill. Vice President Mike Pence called Hawley last week asking him to enter the race. Former Republican U.S. Senator Jack Danforth has openly campaign for Hawley, calling him a “once-in-a-generation” candidate earlier this month.
In her statement, Hartzler said “I appreciate all of the kind words of encouragement over the last few weeks from people all over our state. I did what you asked. I and my family took a hard look and prayed faithfully about running for the United States Senate. While I am honored by the support I’ve received, it is my belief this race is for another solid conservative to pursue and win in 2018.”
State Treasurer Eric Schmitt has also been mentioned as a possible Republican candidate against McCaskill. Like Hawley, he was elected to statewide office last November.
Schmitt told Missourinet he’s “very focused on the job of being state treasurer right now”, but didn’t rule out a run. Last week, he was in Washington D.C. to discuss a possible run while meeting with leaders of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Kansas City resident Austin Petersen, who lost the Libertarian Party nomination for president in 2016, and Tony Monetti, Assistant Dean of Aviation at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg have announced that they’ve entered the race.
McCaskill is considered vulnerable by polling experts in next year’s vote. Last week, Inside Elections with Nathan Gonzales rated her re-election race a Toss-up.