State Rep. Troy Waymaster has decided to withdraw from the 1st District campaign for Congress to seek re-election to the Kansas House.

Waymaster, a farmer and Bunker Hill resident who chairs the influential House Appropriations Committee, declined at this juncture to endorse a Republican candidate in the Aug. 4 primary.

He said in a statement that he had dreamed of serving in Washington, D.C., but fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic led him to the conclusion that his place was in Kansas.

"My withdrawal does not end my public service," he said. "I plan to seek re-election to the Kansas Legislature and be the conservative leader in Topeka that Kansans need now more than ever."

Waymaster said the coronavirus pandemic has taken an unimaginable toll. He said the lengthy economic recovery would require leaders in Topeka with knowledge of the state, appreciation for the role of agriculture and a sense of what it took for a Main Street business to succeed.

He said his wife, Crystal, was grappling with how to resume operation of a small business in Russell.

The congressional seat is held by U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, who is campaigning for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by retiring Sen. Pat Roberts.

Waymaster’s exit leaves the GOP Aug. 4 primary contest to Republicans Tracey Mann, the former lieutenant governor to Gov. Jeff Colyer, and Bill Clifford, a Finney County commissioner. Democrats in the race are Kali Barnett, Christy Davis and Brandon Williams.

"The Big First will have many candidates to choose from, and I know they will choose wisely," Waymaster said. "I will not be endorsing anyone at this time, and I look forward to being a part of the campaign as a voter."

Waymaster said 1st District voters preferred to elect a conservative. The district needs a representative who won’t "back down from the socialist agenda," he said.