Claire McCaskill | St. Louis Public Radio

Claire McCaskill

Voter turnout for Missouri's 2nd District contest between Republican Ann Wagner (center left) and Democrat Cort VanOstran (center right) could tip the balance in the Senate race between Republican Josh Hawley (left) and Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.
Carolina Hidalgo, Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

In Missouri, not all congressional districts are created equal.

Which is why both major U.S. Senate candidates – and their national allies – are paying significant attention to the 2nd District, which spans from south St. Louis County to St. Charles County. It also includes a sliver of Jefferson County.

For almost a decade, the 2nd District has produced more votes than its seven counterparts. The 2nd District also includes many of the suburban women voters that both sides covet.

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander greets supporters as they welcome him to the stage at The Pageant on Oct. 28, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies look at three things playing a big role in Missouri’s 2018 election cycle.

The first is debate over pre-existing conditions between U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and her GOP opponent Josh Hawley. It stems from Hawley’s decision to be a part of a lawsuit seeking to upend the Affordable Care Act.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 8, 2011 - As Republican consultant Chris LaCivita sees it, his hiring by Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin has little to do with LaCivita's notoriety as a key cog in the 2004 "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" campaign against Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.

The point, says LaCivita, is that he has been a major player in Republican congressional or gubernatorial campaigns in Missouri for at least a decade. They include Jim Talent's first 2002 bid for the U.S. Senate, Matt Blunt's 2004 contest for governor, Ed Martin's 2010 quest for Congress -- and Roy Blunt's 2010 bid for the U.S. Senate.

Attorney General Josh Hawley speaks at a Missouri GOP office in south St. Louis County on Aug. 30, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is calling for a special counsel to investigate whether U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her staff improperly handled sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Hawley, Missouri’s GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate, is joining a number of Republicans who are upset over how the letter from Christine Blasey Ford was leaked to the press several weeks ago.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley appeals to supporters Monday at a rally in Imperial, Mo., to promote his bid for the U.S. Senate.
Jo Mannies I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Republicans gathered this weekend in Jefferson County to celebrate their statewide success in reaching 1 million potential voters, either in person or by phone.

And there’s at least one reason why the GOP is holding the event in Jefferson County:

“It’s pretty fair to say that so goes Jefferson County, so goes Missouri,’’ said Whitney Smith, Missouri communications director for the Republican National Committee.

Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley speaks on Sept. 27, 2018, in St. Charles. Hawley called the hearings around Brett Kavanaugh a 'circus.'
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Soon after beginning a stump speech to GOP volunteers in St. Charles County, Republican Senate hopeful Josh Hawley minced no words about what he thought about Thursday’s high-profile hearings of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.

As Kavanaugh was speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Hawley asked the Republican faithful if they were “watching this circus in Washington.”

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley appeals to supporters Monday at a rally in Imperial, Mo., to promote his bid for the U.S. Senate.
Jo Mannies I St. Louis Public Radio

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley says the new allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have not shaken his support – nor his call for a swift Senate vote.

Hawley, who’s currently Missouri attorney general, told allies at a rally Monday in Jefferson County that the Democratic efforts to delay Kavanaugh’s likely confirmation have created “a circus’’ atmosphere.

“It really is embarrassing,’’ Hawley said. “I just think the Democrats’ behavior has been shameful.’’

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill meets with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in her Washington office.
Provided

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said Wednesday that she will vote “no’’ on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

McCaskill’s decision is not unexpected. She has signaled for weeks that she had concerns about the judge’s decisions on various issues.

McCaskill joins most other Senate Democrats who already have announced their opposition to his confirmation. Progressive groups have been pressuring her for weeks to follow suit.

Gage Skidmore | Flickr

Both of Missouri’s senators want their colleagues to investigate allegations of sexual assault against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

It comes as Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the high court was expected to get a key vote later this week.

Green Party candidate Jo Crain, Republican candidate Attorney General Josh Hawley, independent candidate Craig O'Dear and Sen. Claire McCaskill participate in a candidate forum in Maryland Heights on Sept. 14, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen Claire McCaskill and state Attorney General Josh Hawley went toe-to-toe on health care, the Supreme Court, immigration and tariffs in their first forum of the campaign Friday.

Hawley, a Republican, said the public will choose between a “heartland way of life’’ and a “radical left-wing agenda.”

McCaskill, a Democrat, said the public should focus on “the ones who actually have a track record of working in a bipartisan way and actually getting things done.”

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and Attorney General Josh Hawley spoke in the St. Louis area on Aug. 30, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Once again, Republicans are raising questions about U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s personal finances – or rather, those of her husband, wealthy businessman Joe Shepard.

But this time, she’s accusing her GOP critics of being hypocrites because they’re not making the same demands of President Donald Trump.

Her Republican rival, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, contends that McCaskill wants to hide her family’s “dark-money’’ finances.

Onlookers watch as Air Force One lands at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in March 2018.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

There’s one person who will affect Missouri’s U.S. Senate race more than a pointed attack ad or dumptrucks full of money: President Donald Trump.

Both U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and Attorney General Josh Hawley believe he’ll make an impact in their nationally-watched contest.

The question, though, is who will benefit?

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley speaks to GOP volunteers on Aug. 31, 2018, in Imperial, Mo.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

GOP Senate candidate Josh Hawley is pushing for a major overhaul of the earned income tax credit, one of the federal government’s most popular programs aimed at helping the working poor.

In an interview with St. Louis Public Radio, Hawley said he wants to instead deliver a wage boost directly in the paychecks of low and moderate income workers.

Attendees listen as President Donald Trump speaks at a Granite City Works warehouse. July 26, 2018
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann round up some of the week’s biggest developments in the 2018 elections.

One of the topics Rosenbaum and Lippmann take a look at this week is President Donald Trump’s aluminum and steel tariffs — and how they may affect Missouri’s U.S. Senate contest.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and Attorney General Josh Hawley spoke in the St. Louis area on Aug. 30, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Both of the major candidates for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat were in the St. Louis area on Thursday, seeking to emphasize issues that will help their cause in November.

For McCaskill, Thursday’s topic was her support for a minimum-wage hike and opposition to right to work. Hawley zeroed in, once again, on Brett Kavanaugh’s pending nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., speaks to a group of people representing Missouri manufacturing and agircultural interests on Aug. 27, 2018.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill continued her criticism of President Donald Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, which she says could do lasting economic damage to Missouri’s agriculture and manufacturing economies.

At a meeting Monday in St. Louis, the Democratic senator heard from companies and agricultural-commodity groups affected by the tariffs as Trump announced a trade deal with Mexico.

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

Missouri’s U.S. Senate contest is attracting more outside money – at least $25 million so far –  than any other Senate race in the country.

More than half of the money is being spent by a conglomerate of Republican-leaning groups seeking to help the state’s GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.

The rest is mainly coming from a political-action committee tied to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat aiding the incumbent, Sen. Claire McCaskill.

President Donald Trump arrives at St. Louis Lambert International Airport to attend a fundraiser for GOP U.S. Senate hopeful Josh Hawley.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This week’s Politically Speaking zeroes in on how President Donald Trump will affect Missouri’s election cycle — particularly U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s re-election bid against Attorney General Josh Hawley.

On the surface, Trump should benefit Hawley — especially because the GOP chief executive won Missouri by nearly 19 percentage points in 2016. Missouri’s public opinion polls show his approval ratings hovering around 50 percent. But Trump has faced a torrent of controversy this week with the Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen court proceedings.

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill meets with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in her Washington office.
Provided

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill isn’t signaling her opinion after her first meeting with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

But as she’d advertised, the Missouri Democrat says her questions on Tuesday centered on three topics: protecting access to health care, curbing corporate power and addressing the explosion in campaign money from undisclosed donors.

McCaskill did not disclose Kavanaugh’s answers.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill speaks at a campaign event on Friday in Ferguson.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joins Politically Speaking to talk about her quest for a third term in one of the nation’s most closely watched Senate contests.

The Missouri Democrat was first elected to the Senate in 2006. Before that, McCaskill served as Missouri’s auditor, Jackson County prosecutor and a member of the Missouri House of Representatives.

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