first_imgRepresentative Ann Wagner, Republican of Missouri, held onto her St. Louis-area House seat on Tuesday, defeating a steep challenge by Democrats to deliver her party a victory in a nationwide battle for political dominance in the suburbs.Ms. Wagner, a four-term congresswoman and paragon of the Republican establishment, prevailed over Jill Schupp, a Democratic state senator, in a race that came to be seen as a crucial battleground. It showed the limits of Democrats’ reach into conservative-leaning suburbs that were once considered Republican strongholds but are now far more competitive. Winning in those districts was a crucial element of Democrats’ push to expand their House majority.- Advertisement – It worked, at least for now, according to results reported by The Associated Press.- Advertisement – In a heavily Catholic district, she highlighted her opposition to abortion, painting Ms. Schupp as outside the mainstream. After a summer of sometimes violent racial justice protests in St. Louis, she declared hers a “law and order district” and accused Ms. Schupp of wanting to defund the police. And although she promoted legislation protecting pre-existing conditions, Ms. Wagner portrayed Ms. Schupp as a liberal radical masquerading as a moderate who would socialize the nation’s health care.Ms. Wagner never broke with Mr. Trump, whose divisive language and combative style, even in the face of a global health crisis, alienated many voters. Like other Republicans trying to hold on in swing districts and states this year, she wagered that it was better to stand by him and celebrate policies like tax cuts and deregulation while stressing her own stylistic differences with the president.“We have an extreme difference, certainly, in tenor, in tone, in tweet storms and ‘Look at the shiny object over here,’” Ms. Wagner told St. Louis Public Radio in the final weeks of the campaign. “I don’t get distracted by that. I do believe that his policies — many and most of his policies have been very, very sound for the United States of America.” Ms. Wagner was a co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee and ambassador to Luxembourg under President George W. Bush, before winning her House seat in 2012.Ms. Schupp ran a playbook Democrats had employed successfully around the country in the Trump era to claw back the House majority. She hammered Ms. Wagner for her votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act and accused her of siding with “special interests” over seniors on drug pricing. Ms. Schupp also accused Republicans of mismanaging a deadly and economically painful pandemic.Ms. Wagner fought aggressively for re-election, working to sow doubts about Ms. Schupp.- Advertisement –center_img Democrats, hoping to capitalize on the disillusionment of suburban women alienated by President Trump, poured millions of dollars into an effort to flip the district, which is composed of a patchwork of white, affluent municipalities outside St. Louis.But Ms. Wagner, 58, was insistent she would win and show her party a path toward rebuilding after Democrats wiped out dozens of Republicans in 2018. After that loss, she founded the House Suburban Caucus to refocus on issues like education, economic development and health care that could appeal to districts like hers. She tread carefully around Mr. Trump, who still inspired deep loyalty among the party base in much of the district. – Advertisement –last_img

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