JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Show-Me State will soon be represented by two Republicans in the United States Senate, with a blue seat flipping red with the win of Josh Hawley.
In what was considered to be a neck-and-neck race, as more results came in, the sitting Missouri Attorney General inched ahead to a distinct lead over incumbent-Democrat U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.
With all of precincts reporting, 51 percent of the ballots cast (1,245,732 votes) were is favor of Hawley and 45 percent (1,101,377 votes) were cast for McCaskill. Third party candidates — Independent candidate Craig O’Dear, Libertarian Japeth Campbell, and Green Party candidate Jo Crain — where able to draw roughly 3 percent of the votes in total.
“Tonight, the good Lord and the people of Missouri have given us a victory,” the Senator-elect told a cheering crowd. He mentioned that McCaskill had conceded the race and he already had spoken to President Donald Trump.
“The people of Missouri said tonight that they want a senator who actually stands with the people of Missouri, who represents our values, who represents our beliefs, and who will fight for us in Washington, D.C.,” said Hawley.
Hawley has had a short tenure in elected office, only being elected as Missouri’s Attorney General in 2016. With this win, Gov. Mike Parson will need to appoint someone to fill the position through 2020.
The senate seat had been held by McCaskill since 2006, when she narrowly defeated incumbent-Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Talent. McCaskill looked on track to lose in 2012, but ended up handily defeating GOP candidate Todd Akin, who claimed in an interview that a woman could not get pregnant as a result of “legitimate rape.”
But it appears McCaskill’s luck ran out this cycle. The Show-Me State swung dramatically red in the past decade, electing a Republican super-majority in both state chambers and supporting President Donald Trump by nearly 20 points in 2016.
“What I feel the most pain about tonight, are all of the people who, some for the first time in their lives, said ‘I’m gonna do more than just sit on the couch and cuss the tv, I’m gonna show up, I’m gonna work hard,'” said McCaskill. “And for the thousands of people who worked on this campaign. I’m so grateful and I want you to keep that fire burning because there is justice around the corner.”
Throughout the campaign, Hawley tied himself to Trump and Trump’s agenda while highlighted McCaskill’s voting record on Trump’s priorities. He pointed out she voted against the tax cuts, Supreme Court nominees, and building a wall along the southern border.
Trump himself campaigned for Hawley on five separate occasion — two times within the last week — telling voters in Missouri to “vote Republican.”
Hawley called the sitting-Senator a “career politician,” saying she had lost touch with Missourians and that it was time to “Fire Claire McCaskill.”
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for The Missouri Times and The Missouri Times Magazine. She joined The Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University.