JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Several prominent Republicans signed an open letter urging newly-elected Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley to run for U.S. Senate in 2018.
Former Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, former U.S. Senator from Missouri Jack Danforth, former State Sen. Jane Cunningham, and Republican megadonor David Humphreys were among the seven who signed the letter. The writers of the letter fear “hyper-partisanship” in the Senate on the part of Democrats looking to oppose President Donald Trump’s agenda, and they believe Hawley could undo some of the damage they believe is happening to the legislative process.
“You are off to an impressive start as Missouri’s Attorney General, and you have made clear your commitment to excellent service in that important office,” the letter reads. “Ordinarily we would not suggest that you take any other course. But these are not ordinary times. The federal government is clearly broken and the Senate is the place to begin fixing it.
“For these reasons, we respectfully urge you to become a candidate for the United States Senate.”
Hawley is a political newcomer. He had not held elected office before running for attorney general, an office he took just three months ago. Still, his name has been floated in Jefferson City for a possible Senate run.
The fight amongst Republicans for U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s seat has heated up with the approach of summer and the end of the legislative session as campaigns will likely begin in earnest in the coming months. Congresswoman Ann Wagner has been named as a likely candidate, and she stepped down as finance director of the National Republican Congressional Committee last week, which could allow her to refocus her efforts on campaigning. Other have speculated Missouri house Speaker Todd Richardson could also throw his name in the ring.
However, Cunningham, one of the authors of the letter, said it remains to be seen whether or not there will be a primary. She described Hawley as a “rare and exceptional” and a “perfect candidate” who led the Republican ticket in the 2016 elections – even getting more votes than Trump.
“I wish I could clone him,” she told The Missouri Times. “If you just go to his characteristics, his intellectual capacity, exceptional academic background, his constitutional conservatism, his faith, and his popularity with voters, I think he’s the natural candidate.”
She also said the support for the letter has poured in since it was published this morning, with many prominent Republicans, including officeholders and donors, wishing to put their names on the letter as well.