Rep. Zachary Wyatt, R-2, announced Tuesday he will not run for re-election during November.
Wyatt said he has not officially withdrawn his name from the election because the election rules allow for a party’s candidate to be replaced within five days of withdrawing. He said he has been talking to individuals about filling his vacancy, but declined to release names at this time.
Wyatt said he must withdraw before June for the five day grace period to be effective.
The 27-year-old representative said he decided to leave the race after being accepted into the University of Hawaii to study marine biology.
Wyatt said he received the Montgomery GI Bill after serving seven years in the military, which will pay for his extended college education. The scholarship expires 10 years after leaving the military, he said.
“The main reason I went to the military was to get the Montgomery GI Bill and get my schooling,” he said.
Wyatt said that after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in marine biology, he plans to attend law school to study environmental law. He said he wants to work on environmental policy, possibly by returning to politics.
Wyatt will begin classes during August, but he said he will stay involved with Missouri politics and return to Jefferson City if the House of Representatives is called into special session.
“I’m still going to be doing my legislative duties that I took a sworn oath to uphold,” he said.
His term ends Dec. 31, 2012., but he’s looking forward to the future.
“I’m only 27 years old so I have hopefully a long, long life ahead of me, and hopefully I’ll be able to do quite a few things with that degree after I’m done,” he said.
Wyatt’s opponent, Democrat Rebecca McClanahan, represented Missouri’s second district for four years before Wyatt defeated her during the November 2010 elections. McClanahan said Wyatt’s withdrawal will not deter her from focusing on the key issues of her campaign, including health care, job creation and higher education.
“There’s been very little accomplished in the Missouri legislature and even when everyone was claiming that jobs were their number one priority, they couldn’t develop a consensus on something that would be appropriate for a jobs bill,” she said.
McClanahan said the three issues are related because the major employers in Northeast Missouri are health care and public education.
“Just the number of positions lost at Truman would be the size of a large manufacturing facility,” she said.
McClanahan said she did not agree with some of Wyatt’s actions during his term, such as filing articles of impeachment against Circuit Court Judge Russell Steele.
Wyatt said McClanahan is not the best candidate for the job because she has the best interest of urban areas, not rural areas like the second district, in mind.
Missouri’s general election is Nov. 6.