Ann Wagner, who lost a bid to be chairman of the Republican National Committee a week ago, is seriously considering running against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), she told Roll Call on Saturday.
"Exactly a week ago today we got back from the RNC race, and I've kind of reflected and recharged, and I am going to take a look at the U.S. Senate race," Wagner said in a phone interview.
Rumors that Wagner was interested in the Senate race died down when she kicked off her run for the RNC chairmanship in late November but started up again after she lost on Jan. 14. Wagner said that elected officials and activists have encouraged her to get into the race and that she will begin making phone calls about it next week.
McCaskill is considered one of the most vulnerable Senators up for re-election in 2012, and Roll Call Politics rates the race a Tossup. Former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman has already announced she will run in the Republican primary. Rep. Sam Graves said this week that he's considering running, and former Sen. Jim Talent, who lost to McCaskill in 2006, may also run. Ed Martin, who lost to Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan in 2010, is also considering a run for the Senate.
Wagner said she wouldn't run against Talent but otherwise would not be discouraged from joining a contested primary race.
"It really is a great jump-start to your campaign, so I'm not necessarily one to shy away from a primary," she said. "I think they can be good and healthy."
Missouri may face other contested races in 2012 as well. The state will lose a House seat because of reapportionment, and Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon is up for re-election.
"If I were to run statewide, I would be much more inclined to run for the Senate," Wagner said.
Wagner chaired the successful campaign of Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) in 2010. She previously served as chairman of the Missouri GOP, co-chairman of the RNC and ambassador to Luxembourg.