July 17 (UPI) -- Republican Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler said she will not run for the Senate to challenge incumbent the state's Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.
Hartzler's decision follows the same call by Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., to seek reelection in the House rather than mount a campaign for a Senate seat in the 2018 midterm election.
"After much prayer and discussion with my family I have decided to seek re-election to the United States House of Representatives," Hartzler announced on Monday. "I believe the best way to continue to serve [the 4th congressional district] is by taking their common-sense ideas and Heartland values to Washington."
The top Republican recruit to make the Senate bid is expected to be Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who is giving the bid "serious consideration," his spokesperson said last week.
McCaskill has held the Senate seat since 2007. Hartzler's departure leaves Republicans seeking to confirm a new challenger.
"I believe my focus needs to be on rebuilding and restoring our national defense, getting our economy moving again, and fixing a broken Washington for the hardworking people of our state in my current role should the good people of this district give me this honor again. While we are moving in the right direction, there is much to be done," Hartzler added in her statement.
Republicans are seeking to add to their slim majority in the Senate by claiming Missouri, which President Donald Trump won by nearly 20 percent in the November presidential election.