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Wagner raises more than $450,000 since April 1, heightens national GOP profile

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 13, 2013: U.S. Rep Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, will be filing a campaign report on Monday that shows she’s raised close to $500,000 during the past three months – a sizable sum for a first-term freshman in the U.S. House.

Her fundraising tally, which will show her with $756,000 in the bank,  also could discourage any potential 2014 rivals –  fellow Republicans or Democrats – and may bolster her rise in national GOP leadership ranks.

The summary page of her campaign report, due Monday, should show that Wagner has raised $451,688 since April 1, spent $108,033 and has $756,022 in the bank. A copy of the summary page was provided to the Beacon, which requires such documentation before reporting any fundraising numbers.

By comparison, her fundraising since taking office in January has been significantly above the norm among Missouri members of Congress in either party.

During the first three months of this year, for example, Wagner’s much smaller money-raising tally of $288,208 was still well above what other members of Congress from Missouri reported for that same period, although some still had more saved in the bank.

(Even Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. – generally the state’s top Democrat in money-raising -- collected less than Wagner during the first three months of this year. That might not be the case this time around, since the senator appears to have been more active this quarter in collecting money.)

Wagner spokesman's Patrick Howell said that her money-raising success reflects her leadership skills and that “she’s really earned the respect of her colleagues.” Wagner was chosen as the leader among House freshmen after last November's election.

While impressive, Wagner’s money-raising prowess – notable for a House first-termer -- still lags far behind that of top House leaders. For example, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, reported raising $2.38 million during the first three months of this year.

On Monday, the new fundraising figures will show how well Wagner’s new numbers stack up, in Missouri and elsewhere.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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