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Wagner Moves Toward Bid for Akin’s Seat in Missouri

Ann Wagner, a former ambassador and former co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, announced Tuesday that she is exploring a run for Congress, if Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) decides to run for Senate.

In a statement posted on her website, she said she is forming an exploratory committee “in the likely event Missouri’s Second Congressional District becomes an open seat in 2012.” Wagner’s online statement, which appears to have been made public before her official announcement, was first discovered by the website Fired Up Missouri.

“The 2nd Congressional District is the place where my husband Ray and I grew up, went to school, raised our children, work and go to church,” Wagner said in the statement. “Now the future of the people and the place that we love is being threatened by failed leadership in Washington that is dragging us down a path of ruin.”

Akin is considering running against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) next year, although he has not announced a decision.

Missouri is in the midst of a contentious redistricting process that may not be resolved for months. The final boundaries of Akin’s now safely Republican district (he won with 68 percent in 2010) remain a question mark.

Two Republicans are currently running in the GOP Senate primary: former Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman and attorney Ed Martin.

Last week, St. Louis businessman John Brunner told the Associated Press that he was seriously considering running for the seat as well. Brunner has the ability to be at least a partial self-funder.

“If I believe in myself, I’d make a contribution and hope that others feel the same way,” Brunner told the AP.

Last month, McCaskill faced significant political backlash after it was revealed that she had billed taxpayers for a political trip on her private plane and had not paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes on that plane.

Appointed by President George W. Bush, Wagner served as the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg from 2005 to 2009 and previously was the chairwoman of the Missouri GOP. Wagner ran an unsuccessful campaign to be chairwoman of the Republican National Committee earlier this year. She currently serves as the vice chairwoman on the Missouri statehouse redistricting committee.

“Although I have worked for over 20 years in politics and public service,” Wagner said, “this is the first time I’ve taken a step toward putting my name on the ballot for state or federal office. … I will begin this effort by listening to the hard-working people, families and job creators throughout our region.”