Republicans may be fantasizing about recruiting U.S. Representative Ann Wagner (R-St. Louis) to take on Senator Claire McCaskill — but Wagner may be happy just to hold onto her seat. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report suggests her race isn’t just in play, but that it’s actually leaning toward her Democratic challenger.
As the beltway analysts suggest in their February report, a variety of factors that could make Wagner’s reelection race hard, even beyond any shortcomings as a candidate (more on that in a minute). Namely, Republicans nationwide are being dragged down by the unpopular president — even as Wagner faces an aggressive, well-funded opponent.
As the Cook Political Report notes, “[M]ost new district-by-district fundraising and polling numbers are downright terrible for Republicans, even in seats previously thought to be safe. In the fourth quarter of 2017, 39 Republican House incumbents were outraised by at least one Democratic challenger, and private polls and special election results suggest Democrats are highly competitive even in some districts President Trump won by wide margins.”
That trend showed itself earlier this week, when a Democrat finally managed to take a statehouse seat in a special election — Mike Revis beat the Republican in the 97th House district, which Trump had won barely more than a year ago by nearly 30 points.The 97th, it’s worth noting, covers Jefferson County. And that means it’s supposedly one of the more Republican-leaning parts of Ann Wagner territory.
The frontrunner to take on Wagner for the Democrats, Cort VanOstran, surely smells blood in the water — as do his donors.
“When [Ann] Wagner announced she would forgo a Senate bid and run for reelection, most considered her a lock,” the Cook report notes. “But young Democratic attorney Cort VanOstran has surprised some by raising $334,000. Wagner will have access to all the money she needs, but this suburban seat is the only in Missouri that didn’t migrate to Trump in 2016, and Sen. Claire McCaskill may need to carry it to win reelection.”
Let’s also remember that Wagner has been blowing off her constituentsand cackling with glee while cutting healthcare. These things may play just fine at a Koch Brothers cocktail party, but we imagine they’re none too popular in Jefferson County.