With Akin's Announcement, Republicans Lining Up for 2nd District Seat
Republicans Ann Wagner, Ed Martin, Jane Cunningham all announce they'll seek Akin's house seat; Carnahan remains mum on candidacy.
After U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, announced Tuesday that he would run against Sen. Claire McCaskill in the 2012 election, a slate of Republicans lined up to represent the newly reformed 2nd Congressional District, which will now include the city of Creve Coeur.
Ann Wagner, former chair of the Missouri Republican Party, state Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, and attorney Ed Martin have all said they will run for Akin’s vacated seat in the House.
"There are some really, really competent people who are taking a look at that race," Akin said as he announced his Senate candidacy in Creve Coeur. Wagner and Martin were in the audience.
"I would be surprised if there weren’t a lot of people running in it. I love the people in the 2nd District. It was a very thoughtful decision to decide to even leave the 2nd District because I like it quite a lot," Akin said.
The Republican-controlled Missouri Legislature set up the Wheel of Fortune when it settled the loss of a House of Representative seat by dividing U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan’s 3rd District between fellow Democrat Rep. William “Lacy” Clay’s 1st District and Republican Rep. Todd Akin’s 2nd District.
The legislature’s action essentially terminated more than 50 years of Democrat domination in District 3. Before Carnahan was elected in 2006, the seat belonged to Democrat Dick Gephardt for 28 years.
After Akin’s announcement, Wagner fielded questions regarding her candidacy, which she said has been "all in" since she launched an exploratory committee three weeks ago.
She emphasized her experience in the district, having lived in South County and West County and having worked for Republicans in the area, including Akin.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to be a part of the solution in Washington, D.C.,” she said.
Wagner said she agrees with Akin that the nation stands on a precipice and the next several years will determine where the country is headed.
“It’s about the kind of America we want it to be,” she said.
Martin, who narrowly lost to U.S Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis City, last year, announced last week he would seek the 2nd District seat. Martin’s Communications Manager Rush James acknowledged running in the primary against fellow Republicans and conservatives would be much different than running against Carnahan.
“And Ed has a lot of respect for Jane and Ann,” he said. “I think the biggest difference is the fact that Ann has been out of the district for five years or so.”
He said Martin has a wider base of support than Cunningham, thanks in part to support generated following a narrow defeat in trying to unseat Carnahan in 2010.
“Both Ann and Ed will have great name recognition, but I think he’s in the forefront right now,” James said.
On Monday, Cunningham said she absolutely would not officially announce her intentions to run for Akin’s vacated seat until after Akin officially announced he would run for the Senate. However, it was clear that Cunningham would seek Akin’s vacated 2nd District seat once he announced his candidacy.
“My intention is to make sure this district sends a conservative to Washington, D.C.,” Cunningham said. She said she had something other candidates did not: a 10-year record voting as a conservative.
“I certainly feel qualified to go to Washington, D.C., and repeal Obamacare,” she said.
Wagner said she would rely on her activism, experience and conservative approach and ideas. “I think you stand out on your record and the experience and ideas you’re bringing,” Wagner said. “I’ll work the grassroots hard, speak with the business community and constituents of the 2nd District.”
On the Democratic side, reaction has been a bit slower. Carnahan has not indicated that he’s made a decision on what office he would seek. He could choose to run against an established Democrat, William “Lacy” Clay in the 1st District or take on a Republican opponent in a more heavily Republican area in the new 2nd District.