JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – While a number of candidates are vying for their party’s nomination for U.S. Senate in the coming general election, incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and Attorney General Josh Hawley have their sights set squarely upon each other.
The two candidates are favorited to win their party’s nomination in the August primary but have spent little time addressing those running against them.
And new ads issued on Wednesday by Hawley’s campaign and the super PAC Missouri Rising Action both take aim at the incumbent Democrat’s record.
The 30-second television ad launched by Missouri Rising Action says McCaskill has grown out of touch with Missourians in her decades-long political career.
“During her 30 years in political office, Claire McCaskill has grown increasingly out-of-touch with Missouri — whether it’s her multi-millionaire lifestyle, her fake RV tour by private jet, buying a $2.7 million condo in DC, or voting in lockstep with Washington liberals like Chuck Schumer,” said Brian Rogers, Executive Director of Missouri Rising Action. “It’s time to finally retire Senator McCaskill back to her home in Washington and elect a senator who represents the interests and values of Missouri – Attorney General Josh Hawley.”
The seven-figure ad buy will run statewide across Missouri for the next two weeks.
Meanwhile, Hawley’s campaign also released a digital ad online attacking McCaskill on the Supreme Court appointment. The ad features several U.S. senators supporting McCaskill, all of whom have said they will oppose the appointing of Brett Kavanaugh to replace U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
“These are the partisan liberals Claire McCaskill campaigns with, fundraises with, and welcomes support from,” Kelli Ford, Hawley’s campaign spokeswoman, said in a statement. “She can’t have it both ways: does she support the wishes of Missourians or will she act on the wishes of her most loyal, left-wing allies?”
McCaskill’s camp responded to the ads, saying that Missouri Rising Action’s ad was designed to mislead voters about her background.
“Try as they might, Josh Hawley’s billionaire backers are not going to be able to convince Missourians that Claire McCaskill is anything other than exactly who she is: a born-and-raised Missourian who worked hard to put herself through school and support her family. Claire knows how important each and every paycheck is to so many Missourians working to make ends meet — which is exactly why she fights so hard for them in the Senate,” said McCaskill for Missouri press secretary Eric Mee. “Josh Hawley, on the other hand, is the son of a banker, who went to private high school before attending Stanford, Yale Law, and working at a huge DC law firm. There’s no fooling Missourians who the elitist in this race really is.”
McCaskill’s campaign says the momentum behind her continues to grow, with more than 146,000 total donors since January 2017 and average donation of $67. They say that, with over $4.3 million raised, the grassroots support behind Claire is stronger than ever.
“Missourians know that Claire always has their back, and they are turning out in record numbers to keep her fighting for them in the Senate,” Mee said. “Whether it’s Josh Hawley’s attempt to remove protections for Missourians with pre-existing conditions, or the tariffs that are hurting Missouri farmers and manufacturers, Missourians know the stakes in this election are too high to sit on the sidelines.”
The campaign notes that, of the contributions received, 85 percent were less than $100 donations, saying that should be compared to “the millionaires and billionaires who are desperate” to put Hawley in the Senate so that he can support their priorities.
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.