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Ryan Johnson ends congressional bid in 4th district

Associate Cass County commissioner Ryan Johnson has ended his congressional bid, saying he wishes to spend more time with his family than the campaign allowed for. 

“The past three months I’ve talked with thousands of Missouri voters who agree that Washington is broken, and the failed policies of the Biden administration are making it worse,” Johnson said. “We need to have a real conservative leader in Congress representing Missouri’s 4th congressional district. However, it has also become very clear to me in the last three months that for this stage of my life, being Dad to my kids is more important right now than running for Congress.” 

“Becky and I have a few short years left to make a real difference in the lives of our teen daughters and young son. In a decade, I would rather look back and be able to say that I invested my time in my children than winning a campaign,” Johnson continued. 

Johnson launched his bid for the 4th congressional district to replace Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, who is running for U.S. Senate, in mid-June. He is a veteran who has served in both the U.S. Army and Coast Guard, spending eight years in active duty. 

Johnson unseated an incumbent commissioner last year in his bid for the Cass County Commission — his first political campaign. 

In his announcement ending his campaign, Johnson thanked his supporters and said he would be refunding donations in the coming weeks. 

“I am especially grateful to the battle-tested conservative leaders who offered early encouragement, real support, and donations,” Johnson said. “Thank you for going all-in, early. Words can’t express how honored and humbled Becky and I are to have earned your support.” 

Rep. Sara Walsh, former Boone County clerk Taylor Burks, and farmer Kalena Bruce are vying for the GOP nod for the 4th district. Former state Sen. Ed Emery was also running for the seat but died in August. Walsh had paused her campaign after the death of her husband due to COVID-19 but has resumed her bid. 

Sens. Caleb Rowden and Rick Brattin, both Republicans, have said they are considering a run for the seat as well. 

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 Leonard Wood in Pulaski County. 

A social conservative, Hartzler was the second Republican woman elected to Congress from Missouri and assumed office in 2011.