Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler will not challenge Democrat Claire McCaskill for her Senate seat in 2018.
Hartzler, a Republican who represents Missouri’s 4th Congressional District, said in a statement Monday that she “took a hard look and prayed faithfully about running for the United States Senate,” but decided against it.
“While I am honored by the support I’ve received, it is my belief this race is for another solid conservative to pursue and win in 2018,” she said.
Hartzler made the announcement two weeks after another Republican woman from Missouri’s congressional delegation, Rep. Ann Wagner, also bowed out of a race against McCaskill.
McCaskill is seeking re-election next year in a state President Donald Trump won by 19 points. She is widely considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats in 2018.
After Wagner dropped out earlier this month, Hartzler had said she was weighing a run. But she raised only $143,150 in the second quarter of this fiscal year, compared to more than $3 million raked in by McCaskill.
Hartzler now has $456,966 for her own re-election bid in the U.S. House. Wagner’s campaign committee raised $824,002 in the second quarter and has $3.3 million on hand.
McCaskill has more than $5 million on hand for her Senate campaign.
“After much prayer and discussion with my family I have decided to seek re-election to the United States House of Representatives,” Hartzler said Monday in a statement. “I love the great people of the 4th Congressional District and feel honored to be their voice in Washington. I believe the best way to continue to serve them is by taking their common-sense ideas and Heartland values to Washington.”
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley and the state’s treasurer, Eric Schmitt, also are weighing runs against McCaskill.
State Rep. Paul Curtman, a Franklin County Republican, already formed an exploratory committee to begin raising money for a potential U.S. Senate campaign. Tony Monetti, a retired Air Force pilot from Warrensburg, and Austin Petersen, a Kansas City resident who made an unsuccessful bid for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination, also are running.
Hartzler said her focus “needs to be on rebuilding and restoring our national defense, getting our economy moving again, and fixing a broken Washington for the hardworking people of our state in my current role should the good people of this district give me this honor again.”
Hartzler lives with her husband, Lowell, and daughter, Tiffany, on a working farm in Cass County. She is serving her fourth term in the House. She served as a state representative in the Missouri legislature for six years before being elected to Congress.