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

Rep. Ann WagnerAnn Louise WagnerRepublicans offer 'free market alternative' to paid family leave Top GOP lawmaker moves to force floor vote on abortion bill This week: Senate GOP prepares to change rules on Trump nominees 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 McCarthyOn The Money: Treasury rejects Dem subpoena for Trump tax returns | Companies warn trade war about to hit consumers | Congress, White House to launch budget talks next week | Trump gets deal to lift steel tariffs on Mexico, Canada Congressional leaders to launch budget talks with White House RNC chair on Alabama abortion bill: I would have exceptions for rape, incest 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 EmmerRussia's election interference is a problem for the GOP McCarthy holds courtesy meeting with ex-Rep. Grimm Progressive demands put new pressures on Democrats 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 McCaskillBig Dem names show little interest in Senate Gillibrand, Grassley reintroduce campus sexual assault bill Endorsements? Biden can't count on a flood from the Senate 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 StefanikHere are the eight Republicans who voted with Democrats on the Equality Act House approves anti-LGBT discrimination Equality Act The GOP's commitment to electing talented women can help party retake the House 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.