KANSAS CITY, Mo. – United States Senator Claire McCaskill joined KCUR 89.3FM “Up to Date” with Steve Kraske to dispel rumors that she will run for governor in 2016. She told listeners that it’s a “firm no” on a bid for governor.
“I am convinced where I can have the biggest impact is in the United States Senate,” McCaskill continued.
McCaskill put up unimpressive, but manageable, numbers in a recent poll commissioned by The Missouri Times and conducted by Gravius Public Polling. If the general election were to take place today, McCaskill would be 14 points behind Auditor Tom Schweich and 11 points behind former Speaker of the House Catherine Hanaway.
“It’s not about whether I can win or lose, it’s about where I can make a contribution,” McCaskill said.
McCaskill went on to lend her support to Attorney General Chris Koster’s bid for governor, calling him a “terrific candidate” to push back against “extreme folks who want to turn away from progress.” She also said that her decision was not “poll driven.”
“I think Chris will do a good job of that,” she said. Koster released his own statement shortly after the announcement.
“Claire McCaskill is the heart and soul of the Democratic Party in Missouri, and her commitment to progress for our state is unsurpassed,” Koster. “Creating a better future for Missouri is at the center of everything she does. Senator McCaskill is a friend and advisor to me, and it is a friendship I hope continues for many years to come. Claire’s voice for centrist principles will move the U.S. Senate and our country forward.”
The senator told listeners that she made the decision over the holiday, also saying that it would have been an easier decision to make if her mom had been here.
McCaskill is widely expected to face a tough general election in 2018, when several Missouri congressional Republicans will likely mull a challenge. Though conservatives have often tried to paint McCaskill as far-from-moderate, the National Journal has repeatedly considered her one of the most moderate senators in Washington.
The Rolla native was elected in 2006, defeating Republican incumbent Sen. Jim Talent. In 2012, Congressman Todd Akin unsuccessfully challenged her re-election. Akin was considered a strong candidate with ample opportunity to defeat the Democratic incumbent until he made national headlines with the now-infamous “legitimate rape” comments. McCaskill was elected as state auditor in 1998 and unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2004, losing to Matt Blunt.
McCaskill started her political career in the Missouri House of Representatives, before joining the Jackson County legislature and going onto become the first female prosecutor in Jackson County.
“In 2016, I will be helping others,” McCaskill said, going on to share that she wants to work to clean up ethics in Missouri, taking jabs at billionaire Rex Sinquefield and Catherine Hanaway, who has announced her run for governor in 2016. Hanaway has received more than $1 million from Sinquefield for her run. But Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat that McCaskill endorsed today in his bid for the governor’s mansion, is also a recipient of Sinquefield funds.
She hopes to see ethics reform on the ballot in 2016.
Rachael Herndon was the editor at The Missouri Times and also produced This Week in Missouri Politics, published Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosted the #MoLeg podcast. She joined The Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.