On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner to the program.
The Ballwin Republican is seeking re-election in Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District. That takes in portions of St. Louis County, Jefferson County and St. Charles County. Wagner is running against Democrat Bill Otto, a state representative from Maryland Heights who recorded an episode of Politically Speaking earlier this month.
Before she was elected to represent the 2nd congressional district in 2012, Wagner had served as the head of the Missouri Republican Party, co-chair of the Republican National Committee and ambassador to Luxembourg under President George W. Bush. She easily won re-election in 2014 in the district that tilts toward Republicans.
Since taking office in early 2013, she quickly has made her mark. She has a leadership position as the freshman representative to GOP leadership in the House.
If she can outflank Otto, there’s already national speculation that Wagner may run against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill in 2018.
Among Wagner's observations on the show:
- She views her post as “a calling … to give a voice to the voiceless, to fight for the most vulnerable in society.” She believes she’s a better fit for the 2nd District than her opponents.
- Her campaign has knocked on 36,000 doors and made 180,000 phone calls in the district. What she’s hearing most is public concern about “government overreach’’ and overregulation.
- Aside from winning re-election, she’s focusing on encouraging a strong GOP turnout in the 2nd District to help other Republicans on the ballot. “What happens in Missouri’s 2nd District matters.”
- She acknowledges that “historically speaking, the top of the ticket drives turnout.” But Wagner says she’s hearing less about the presidential contest and more about issues.
- She is sticking by her decision to withdraw her endorsement of Donald Trump after the public disclosure of the 2005 video that that showed him talking about groping women.
Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies
Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum
Follow Ann Wagner on Twitter: @RepAnnWagner
Music: "Sugar, We're Going Down" by Fall Out Boy