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Walsh withdrawing from race for congressional seat

May 16, 2022 at 11:59 a.m. | Updated May 17, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.
State Rep. Sara Walsh, R-Ashland, is shown at the conclusion of Wednesday's opening session of Missouri's 101st General Assembly. Walsh, whose husband Steve Walsh died in August of 2021, is back in the Capitol carrying out her duties as an elected representative. (Julie Smith/News Tribune photo)

State Rep. Sara Walsh, R-Ashland, is ending her campaign for U.S. Congress.

Walsh, who was among the first to announce and file for Missouri's 4th Congressional District, announced Monday she was no longer running because the new congressional redistricting map narrowed her path for a successful campaign.

Under the new map, which the General Assembly passed in the final days of session after months of negotiating, Walsh and her base were moved to the 3rd Congressional District represented by Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, who is seeking re-election.

"Still, I voted for the map because I believe it was good for conservatives and good for Missouri," Walsh said in her campaign announcement. "However, the newly drawn district that removes my strongest base of support has a severe impact on the chances of success for my campaign."

The new congressional map splits Boone County and the city of Columbia in half, putting the northern half of the city and county into the 4th Congressional District and the southern half, where Walsh resides and represents, into the 3rd Congressional District.

Walsh said she hasn't taken an extensive look at the Republican field running against the incumbent, but she has walked in parades for Luetkemeyer and believes he does a good job representing the 3rd Congressional District.

"I'll be supporting Congressman Luetkemeyer," she said.

Walsh, who represents parts of Boone, Cole, Cooper and Moniteau counties in the statehouse, announced her candidacy for federal office in July 2021 -- a month before her husband died of COVID-19 complications.

Upon filing for the August Republican primary, Walsh said she was running to "fight for God and country, to fight for the American dream."

Walsh said she is concerned about the country under President Joe Biden's leadership and, if elected, would've focused on curtailing government spending and curbing the "radical, socialist agenda" of Democrats.

"In good conscience, I cannot continue to ask for sacrificial contributions for my campaign from good people who are suffering under skyrocketing gas prices, soaring food prices, baby formula shortages and other inflationary challenges when my campaign may not be victorious due to the new congressional district map."

Walsh's campaign, which was out-raised by several competitors as of April, is survived by seven other Republicans, one Democrat and one Libertarian vying for the seat currently held by Republican U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler. Hartzler is leaving the House to run for U.S. Senate.

No longer a constituent of the 4th Congressional District, Walsh said she doesn't anticipate getting involved with endorsements in the race. She urged supporters to do research and support another Republican in the race.

Candidate filing is closed for the year, but Walsh is eligible to run for another term representing District 50 in the state House as early as 2024 because she was elected via a special election in August 2017. State representatives are limited to serving four, two-year terms.

Walsh said she'll be concentrating on finishing out her term as a state representative until the end of the year.

"We'll see what opportunities open up beyond that," she said.


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