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Trish Gunby launches challenge to Congresswoman Ann Wanger

State Rep. Trish Gunby officially kicked off her congressional campaign Monday, mounting a challenge to Republican Congresswoman Ann Wagner in Missouri’s 2nd district. 

Gunby was elected to the statehouse in 2019 during a special election in which she upset her Republican counterpart, raising about $156,000 for that race. As The Missouri Times previously reported, she filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission last week to run as a Democrat for the U.S. House seat. 

Speaking from a dance studio in Manchester Monday, Gunby said promised to establish relationships in Congress and compromise when she’s able. 

“Since 2013, my neighbors and I haven’t had a United States Representative who’s shown up for us in Washington, D.C., or at home,” Gunby said in a statement. “We deserve more visible accountable leadership from our elected officials. It’s what I’ve provided as a state [representative], and it’s what I’ll deliver as our next congresswoman.”

As it stands now prior to redistricting, Missouri’s 2nd congressional district includes Jefferson, St. Charles, and St. Louis counties. Wagner, a former U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg and co-chair of the Republican National Committee, has held the seat since 2013. The last Democrat to hold the seat was Congresswoman Joan Horn who served one term in the early 1990s. 

Wagner, 58, launched her congressional bid in 2012 after then-Congressman Todd Akin decided to run for U.S. Senate. She is only the third Republican woman to represent Missouri in Congress. 

The 2022 elections in Missouri are amplified due to redistricting and an open U.S. Senate seat. Wagner’s name has been floated as a potential candidate in the already crowded GOP field to replace Senator Roy Blunt. 

Wagner reported having nearly $1.2 million cash on hand in her second-quarter report. 

In the Missouri Legislature, Gunby represents St. Louis County’s HD 99 which includes Machester, Twin Oaks, and Valley Park. She is a member of the Economic Development, Utilities, Veterans, and Ways and Means committees and was re-elected to the seat in 2020. 

Gunby is a former Citicorp Mortgage and Purina employee with a background in project management and marketing. She has been active in the community through local projects and volunteer work, particularly with advocating for LGBTQ+ rights and racial justice. 

She studied political science as well as advertising and public relations at the University of Tulsa. Her HD 99 was previously held by Jean Evans, the former executive director of the Missouri Republican Party. 

Gunby said her campaign platform will include support for organized labor, voting rights, and health care.

“For years, Congress has been more interested in name-calling and showboating than making real, substantial change,” Gunby said. “Well, I’m a different sort of candidate, less interested in talking and more interested in doing the work.”