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Ryan Johnson, Cass County commissioner, launches congressional bid

Ryan Johnson, an associate commissioner in Cass County, announced his candidacy for Missouri’s 4th congressional district Thursday. 

“Over the past few weeks, I’ve been encouraged by conservatives across Missouri’s 4th district to run for our open congressional seat. After careful thought and prayer, I’ve decided to run for this seat. This district needs strong, uncompromising conservative leadership and proven active duty military experience,” Johnson said. “I will bring those qualities to Congress and help stop the Biden administration’s socialist agenda.” 

Johnson unseated an incumbent commissioner last year in his bid for the Cass County Commission — his first political campaign. He is a veteran who has served in both the Army and Coast Guard, spending eight years in active duty. He’s worked for Congressman Sam Graves and led the Missouri Alliance for Freedom, a nonprofit conservative advocacy group. 

In an interview with The Missouri Times, Johnson stressed his commitment to conservatism and the importance of “follow through.” 

“It’s one thing to get elected to office. It’s one thing to say the right things on the campaign stump, and it’s another thing to advocate for, advance, and particularly pass conservative priorities or kill legislation that is not conservative,” Johnson said. 

Johnson is a lifelong Missourian who grew up in Blue Springs and attended the University of Central Missouri. He met his wife in Washington, D.C., through their work with the Coast Guard and returned to Cass County after they were married. The couple has three children. 

Johnson said a formal campaign announcement is in the works for next month. 

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, who has represented the district for nearly a dozen years, is running for the open U.S. Senate seat

Former state Sen. Ed Emery said earlier this month he is also running for the 4th congressional district. Sen. Caleb Rowden, former state Rep. Caleb Jones, Sen. Denny Hoskins, Sen. Rick Brattin, and more are considered possible contenders for the seat as well. 

The district spans a large and diverse swath of Missouri, from the Columbia area sweeping west to just below Kansas City and down to Pittsburg and Lebanon, settling north of Springfield.