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Elijah Haahr not running for 7th congressional district

Former House Speaker Elijah Haahr has decided against running for Congress in the 7th district. 

Haahr, who recently took over as executive director of the new Noble Health Foundation, said he would not be jumping into the race to replace Congressman Billy Long after the Republican auctioneer decided to launch a bid for U.S. Senate. 

“After eight years in the General Assembly, the final two as House speaker, I am now the executive director of a nonprofit focused on improving rural health care in our state. My heart is in Missouri, not Washington,” Haahr told The Missouri Times Thursday.

“I will not be a candidate for the 7th congressional seat,” he added. “I pray God’s blessing and grace on those who run because, Lord knows, we need bold leadership in Washington.” 

Haahr served in the Missouri House from 2013-2021, representing HD 134 in Greene County. He was the youngest House speaker in the nation. Despite not practicing law in his new role with Noble Health — which is focused on rural health care throughout the state — Haahr said he will maintain his license in Missouri and Oklahoma. Noble Health Foundation recently partnered with school districts to give students free physical examinations. 

Missouri’s 7th congressional district spans the southwest corner of the state and includes both Branson and Springfield. Long has represented the district for the past decade. 

Rep. Cody Smith has also ruled out a run for the seat at this time, saying, “There’s a lot going on with the state’s budget right now, and I remain committed to my role as House Budget chairman.” 

However, former state Sen. Jay Wasson said he is “actively considering” running for the open seat. State Sen. Mike Moon, too, said he was “flattered” by those who have reached out concerning a potential run and said he would be speaking to his family in the coming days. On social media, state Sen. Eric Burlison also asked for prayers as he considers whether to jump into the race. 

Long entered the already crowded field of GOP contenders to replace U.S. Senator Roy Blunt in Washington, D.C., earlier this week. He joins Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, former Gov. Eric Greitens, and attorney Mark McCloskey in the GOP primary.