SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Republicans are in a festive mood this weekend, as conservatives gather from all across the state for the annual Lincoln Days event.
The long-running tradition, held in Springfield this year, is focused on celebrating a monumental win in the November elections, as well as looking forward to the future.
Hundreds turned out Friday for the registration, and more could arrive on Saturday when the real festivities begin.
Republicans spoke highly of the new governor, Eric Greitens, and his efforts in delivering his conservative agenda on Friday night, many saying they were excited for his arrival on Saturday. He’s expected meet with attendees from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the hotel’s Illinois Room, while several of the governor’s Cabinet members will take part in a panel later in the day at 1:30 p.m.
But perhaps one of the most anticipated items this year is the question of whether current Congresswoman Ann Wagner will announce her candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat in 2018. Many Republicans believe that Wagner would be more than a match for the longtime Missouri lawmaker, especially with conservatives coming off such a strong victory.
The Missouri Times caught up with Wagner Friday night at Lincoln Days and asked her if she had any intent of making a bid for the seat.
“I certainly appreciate that, and have been getting a lot of input on that topic,” Wagner said. “I’m pleased and humbled by the input that we have gotten, but I’ve got a job to do. I’m going to do the people’s work and worry about the politics of 2018 down the road.”
She noted that there are only 60 members in the U.S. House who have ever served with a Republican president before, and she says that gives them added energy in the getting things done.
“I think it’s something that I have in common with President Trump and even Gov. Greitens: I have boundless energy,” she said.
Wagner said one of the main items they’ve been focusing on has been the repealing and replacing of Obamacare, saying that she thinks they may have something ready as soon as Easter.
“We have a mandate. People want this,” she said. “It’s collapsing under its own weight and falling apart. So we’ve got to attack this issue. People want this horrible healthcare situation repealed and replaced, and we’re going to do it in a thoughtful manner.”
Missouri’s Republicans still seemed pleased with the work by President Donald Trump, with several people telling the Missouri Times that his fight to cut red tape in Washington is the change the nation has needed. Many legislators and Republican voters have applauded a number of his Cabinet picks, as well as his nomination for the Supreme Court.
The good news for those in favor is that Wagner says she doesn’t think it will take too much work to get Neil Gorsuch confirmed through the Senate.
For now, Wagner and the Republicans will enjoy a weekend of celebrated success. And for Wagner, the celebrations are two-fold; along with Lincoln Days, the Congresswoman is also celebrating her anniversary this coming week with her husband, Ray Wagner.
“This is old home week for me. Ray and I celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary on Monday, and I’ve been blessed with a great family and a calling to give back and serve in whatever capacity I can,” she said. “So I’m excited – excited about our future, excited to be here. Because Lincoln Days, this is family. These people made this happen.”