Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley joins Politically Speaking to talk about the nationally watched contest for the state’s United States Senate seat.
Hawley is the most well-known and well-funded Republican seeking to take on U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill in the fall. He’s facing off against 10 GOP candidates in next month’s Aug. 7 primary, including two, Austin Petersen and Tony Monetti, that have been guests on Politically Speaking.
The former Lexington, Missouri, resident first ran for political office in 2016, when he easily won the open race to become attorney general. He defeated two seasoned elected officials, Republican state Sen. Kurt Schaefer and Democrat Teresa Hensley, by huge margins. Hawley had been a law professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and previously had clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
His strong performance in the 2016 election prompted some key GOP behind-the-scenes players, including former U.S. Sen. John Danforth, to persuade Hawley into running against McCaskill, a Democrat seeking a third term. Hawley eventually jumped into the race and has since picked up endorsements from President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
Hawley has maintained a sizable cash advantage over his other GOP opponents. But McCaskill still has far more money in the bank going into the November election cycle. Third-party groups from both sides of the political aisle are expected to dump tens of millions of dollars into the contest, which will likely be one of the most-competitive Senate races in the nation.
Here’s what Hawley had to say during the show:
- During an appearance on Politically Speaking in 2016, Hawley said he was “running to be attorney general of Missouri — and that’s the job that I want to do, and that’s the job that I have my sights set on.” Asked what changed between now and then, Hawley replied: “I think our way of life is at stake,” he said. “The middle-class way of life that I grew up with in Lexington, Missouri, that has sustained our state and our families and our communities and our churches all over our state, it’s at risk.”
- Hawley believes getting “conservative judges and justices on the bench” is one way to prevent that aforementioned way of life from falling off a cliff. “President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh is a great step forward,” he said. “It is absolutely critical. All of our most important values are at stake at the U.S. Supreme Court.”
- Asked about the attempted hacking on McCaskill’s email, Hawley said that “Russia is a bad actor, and they’ve been trying to interfere in our democracy and our economy for years now.”
- Hawley reaffirmed his opposition to abortion rights, and said it would be a good “first step’’ if Congress would pass a 20-week abortion ban also known as the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” Hawley would allow exceptions only to save the mother’s life.
- McCaskill has been an opponent of Trump’s tariffs, contending that retaliation from other countries will be “brutal” for Missouri agriculture. Hawley, though, has said that he supports what Trump is trying to do. “I think that the president is going out there and saying he wants to get better trade deals for our farmers and wants to actually fight for our farmers,” he said. “I talk to farmers all the time across our state. And they say all the time, ‘We have gotten the short end of the stick on trade for years.’”
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Music: “Twenty-Four Hours” by Joy Division