Missouri Democrat underscores challenge to Rep. Ann Wagner with eyebrow-raising 24-hour haul

Democrats are targeting St. Louis-area district in quest for further gains in the suburbs

Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner has drawn a higher-profile Democratic challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner has drawn a higher-profile Democratic challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted December 5, 2019 at 5:00am

Missouri Democratic state Sen. Jill Schupp, who is challenging Republican Rep. Ann Wagner in a St. Louis-area district, raised over $225,000 in the 24 hours after she launched her bid Tuesday, her campaign said. 

Democrats are sure to seize upon the number as a sign of continued leftward momentum in the suburbs. 

“It’s clear that Missourians are fed up with partisan politics and business as usual in Washington,” Schupp said in a press release. 

A breakdown of the source of the donations was not available, but the 2nd District race is likely high on many donors’ lists.

The district is one of a handful of suburban seats Democrats came close to flipping during the 2018 midterm wave — Wagner held on by 4 points. It is once again a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee target as the party looks to continue making inroads with white, suburban voters who have soured on President Donald Trump. Interest in the seat is also compounded by Wagner’s national profile as one of the few women to have served in Republican leadership. 

“It’s not surprising that liberal activists from across the country would jump at the chance to support a fellow committed liberal like Schupp,” Wagner spokesman Stephen Puetz said. “But there is a long time between now and the Democrat primary — we’ll let that race play out, and Ann will continue to focus on working hard every day for the people of Missouri’s 2nd District.”

Schupp has a reputation as a strong fundraiser with deep ties to the region. She was elected to the state Senate in 2014 after stints on a local city council and school board. Her 24-hour haul matches the amount that the 2018 Democratic nominee for the 2nd District, Cort VanOstran, raised in the entire first reporting quarter of his campaign.

But Wagner is a formidable foe with her own reputation for strong fundraising. She brought in $1.6 million by the end of the third quarter on Sept. 30 and had $2.1 million in the bank. Earlier this year, she relaunched House Republicans’ Suburban Caucus that is aimed at rolling out legislation to appeal to voters in districts like hers. 

The 2nd District, in a rapidly growing region west of St. Louis, was drawn to favor Republicans after the 2010 census. Trump won it by 10 points in 2016.

But there are signs it is becoming more competitive. Besides Wagner’s narrow win last year, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill carried the seat last fall while losing statewide to Republican Josh Hawley.  And Democrats flipped a state House seat located in the district in a special election last month. 

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 2nd District race Leans Republican

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