Austin Petersen | St. Louis Public Radio

Austin Petersen

Union members gathered at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall on Aug. 8, 2017, to notarize and turn in petitions to force a statewide vote over Missouri’s right-to-work law.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the surface, the purpose of Tuesday’s primary is only to select candidates who will run in the November general election. But in reality, the results could resonate for years to come.

That’s because Missouri voters will decide whether to retain the right-to-work law, which bars unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues as a condition of employment. And in the St. Louis region, prevailing in the Democratic primary is often tantamount to election — especially in state legislative and local contests.

Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley and Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill
Durrie Bouscaren & Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A total of 18 Republicans and Democrats are running for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat.

But most of the attention is on two contenders: incumbent Claire McCaskill and Attorney General Josh Hawley.

Those two candidates and their allies have been sparring for months, providing a prelude to what could be one of the most expensive and contentious national elections of the 2018 election cycle.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley kicks off his U.S. Senate bid in St. Louis County on March 13, 2018.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Popularity of a president often looms large during midterm elections, as it often plays a bigger role in voter decision-making than seemingly endless television ads or the back-and-forth between candidates.

Attorney General Josh Hawley is clearly banking that President Donald Trump will be popular enough this fall to assist his Senate bid against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. He made that contention during a Tuesday night campaign stop in west St. Louis County.

Austin Petersen
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome Republican U.S. Senate candidate Austin Petersen to the program.

Petersen is one of 10 Republicans, so far, vying for the U.S. Senate in Missouri, a field that includes Attorney General Josh Hawley. The winner of that GOP primary will almost certainly square off against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat seeking a third term in office.