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Rowden meets with NRCC in DC as he considers congressional bid

Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to meet with the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) as he considers jumping into the 4th congressional race

Four people — including a state representative and former state senator — have already declared their candidacies for Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler’s seat, and Rowden said he will not make a formal decision until after the birth of his third child in August. He has said he’s “seriously considering” a bid. 

“I had incredibly positive responses from my meetings in Washington. The NRCC needs candidates in open seats like the 4th congressional district who are governing conservatives with a proven record of winning campaigns and building broad coalitions,” Rowden told The Missouri Times Wednesday. “This will allow them to focus their resources on winning battleground races and taking back control of Congress.” 

“I am still working through where I can best serve the people of this great state and what is right for my family,” he said. 

Missouri’s 4th congressional district — as it stands now — is a large and diverse expanse of the state, from Columbia sweeping west to just below Kansas City, stretching down to Pittsburg and Lebanon, and settling north of Springfield. It includes both Whiteman Air Force Base in Johnson County and Fort Leanord Wood in Pulaski County. 

A social conservative, Hartzler was the second Republican woman elected to Congress from Missouri and assumed office in 2011. She is running for U.S. Senate as Senator Roy Blunt said he will not seek re-election to the office. 

State Rep. Sara Walsh, former state Sen. Ed Emery, Cass County associate commissioner Ryan Johnson, and former Boone County clerk Taylor Burks are the four Republicans who have already announced their congressional bids. 

“In President Biden’s first six months in office, Americans have watched him disarm our police, leave our border dangerously unprotected, spend future generations into bankruptcy, and teach our children there is more in America that divides us than unites us,” Rowden said earlier this month. “We have to take back the House and restore sanity to Washington. It is imperative that we nominate a battle-tested conservative who will ensure this seat stays in Republican hands.” 

Rowden served in the lower chamber before he was elected to the state Senate in 2016, representing Boone and Cooper Counties in SD 19. He owns a media and marketing company in Columbia and is a former Christian music artist. 

Rowden chairs the Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee and is the vice chairman of the Administration and Gubernatorial Appointment committees. He’s also a member of the Select Committee on Redistricting. 

Rowden’s meeting with the NRCC was first reported by the National Journal. Rowden was back in the capital city Wednesday for the ESA bill signing.