WASHINGTON — Rep. Vicky Hartzler has decided not to run for the Senate, taking another prominent Republican out of contention to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.
In a move first reported by the News-Leader, Hartzler said she decided against a Senate bid after "much prayer and discussion with my family." The Harrisonville Republican said she would instead run for re-election to the House.
"I love the great people of the 4th Congressional District and feel honored to be their voice in Washington," Hartzler said in a statment. "I believe the best way to continue to serve them is by taking their common-sense ideas and Heartland values to Washington.”
Hartzler’s decision represents another blow to Republicans, coming just weeks after the party's top recruit for the race — St. Louis County GOP Rep. Ann Wagner — opted out of the race in a surprise announcement. In the wake of Wagner’s decision, Missouri Republicans have looked to other top Republicans in the state — including Hartzler and the state’s attorney general, Josh Hawley — to challenge McCaskill.
Hawley’s spokeswoman, Scott Paradise, confirmed last week that Hawley is giving the race “serious consideration.”
It’s not clear when Hawley will make a decision. But many top Republicans believe he would be the strongest candidate to take on McCaskill, considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats facing re-election in 2018.
While the political elite await Hawley’s decision, several lesser-known Republican contenders have said they will vie for the GOP nomination.