GOP congresswoman says she opted out of NRCC run because McCarthy had 'a different plan'

Rep. Ann WagnerAnn Louise WagnerLiberal think tank: GOP paid parental leave proposals are too narrow A true believer in diversity, inclusion GOP amps up efforts to recruit women candidates MORE (R-Mo.) said Wednesday that she had the support and qualifications to run for the chairmanship of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), but that she opted not to run after a conversation with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyWhite House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal House votes to condemn Trump for 'racist comments' On The Money: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency | Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing | Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses MORE (R-Calif.).

"I was very honored to have the support and encouragement of a number of my colleagues to pursue the NRCC chairmanship," Wagner said Wednesday on "The Story" on Fox News.

"I did have a conversation with the leader. He had a different plan," she added. "And I respect that, and I decided, you know what, I’m not going to put my name in nomination. I want to be a part of the team. I want to make sure that we’re a majority, and I’m just going to put my efforts and my leadership skills elsewhere."

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The congresswoman appeared on Fox News one night after host Martha MacCallum asked McCarthy about reports he had urged Wagner not to run to lead the NRCC.

"I don’t discourage anybody," McCarthy said. "I think competition is healthy."

Republicans picked Rep. Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerThe Hill's Morning Report - Democrats frustrated by Hope Hicks's silence GOP hopes dim on reclaiming House Republicans raise concerns over House campaign arm leadership MORE (R-Minn.) during party elections last month to chair the NRCC and lead candidate recruitment and campaign efforts.

Wagner, who has served in Congress since 2013, explained Wednesday that she felt qualified for the position because she earned reelection last month in a suburban district that outgoing Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Feds allow campaigns to accept discounted cybersecurity services GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries MORE won during the same cycle.

"I’ve got the recipe in terms of how we reach these voters based on your record," Wagner said, citing veterans issues, human trafficking and family savings accounts as examples of "kitchen table" issues.

She said she will instead focus on suburban issues as part of a GOP effort to win back suburban voters. 

Wagner's comments came amid internal criticism from some Republican representatives about the party's inability to appeal to women and minority voters. Rep. Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikRising number of GOP lawmakers criticize Trump remarks about minority Dems Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker House approves amendment to reverse transgender military ban MORE (R-N.Y.), who appeared on Fox News alongside Wagner, has pushed for the party to conduct an autopsy on its recent midterm drubbing.

Republicans lost at least 40 House seats during last month's midterms. Ten GOP congresswomen lost their elections, meaning the party will have just 13 female members next year.

“Do the guys in your party not get it?” MacCallum asked Wednesday.

“They need to get it, or we won’t have the majority again,” Wagner replied.