Claire McCaskill | St. Louis Public Radio

Claire McCaskill

Vice President Mike Pence visited St. Louis on Thursday to tout President Donald Trump's tax cuts and campaign for Senate candidate Josh Hawley, at left. July 19, 2018
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Updated July 20 at 4 p.m. — Analysis from St. Louis on the Air added.

Updated July 19 at 3 p.m. — U.S. Vice President Mike Pence defended President Donald Trump’s record as “18 months of action, 18 months of results, 18 months of promises kept,’’ as he exhorted St. Louis area supporters to get out to vote in November.

In particular, Pence called for help in defeating U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who the vice president contended is too liberal for the state — and the country.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Four months before the November election, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is deploying her massive fundraising edge over GOP rival Josh Hawley to dramatically outspend him.

Since April 1, McCaskill has spent close to $3.6 million in her Democratic bid for a third term. That’s almost four times state Attorney General Hawley’s spending, which was just under $1 million.

Greg Magarian is a law professor at Washington University and previously clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

President Trump on Monday evening chose Brett Kavanaugh to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy left by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh will now go before the U.S. Senate for confirmation.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Greg Magarian, J.D., professor of law at Washington University, about the nomination and its local implications. Magarian previously clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens.

Abortion opponents stand on a street median as Planned Parenthood supporters march past the organization's Central West End clinic February 11, 2017.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

President Donald Trump’s newest nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court simply adds to the latest round of heightened political tensions in Missouri over reproductive rights and abortion.

And, as expected, it’s already become a key issue in the state’s closely watched U.S. Senate race. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is making the Supreme Court confirmation the centerpiece of the Republican U.S. Senate candidate’s first TV ad, which began airing Monday.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill answers questions during a town hall at Harris-Stowe State University. Jan. 27, 2018
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies debut a new edition of the show — a weekly roundup of the big issues shaping Missouri’s election cycle.

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

Although President Donald Trump isn’t expected to announce his Supreme Court nominee until next week, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and her best-known GOP rival are already gearing up for a major fight.

That’s particularly true for the Republican, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who’s contending that the future of the U.S. Supreme Court – and McCaskill’s past confirmation votes – should be the pivotal issue in their contest.

close up of nail heads
Flickr | Ed Ivanushkin

Mid Continent Steel and Wire, a nail manufacturer in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, has been at the center of a media blitz after its plight was publicized by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., in front of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at a Senate committee hearing last week.

Since the hearing, Mid Continent, alongside household names like Harley-Davidson, Inc., has been declared a likely casualty of the Trump administration’s protectionist trade policies — specifically steel tariffs.

The company, which manufactures 50 percent of the nails made in the United States, laid off 60 of its 500 employees and shuttered a production plant last week.

Former Secretary of State Jason Kander, left, hosts podcast with national AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka on June 23, 2018.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Democrats appear to be banking their political future on linking the state’s fight over a “right to work’’ law, known as Proposition A, to the effort to re-elect Missouri’s last remaining Democrats holding statewide office.

A referendum over Proposition A will be on the August ballot. The two Democrats facing re-election this year – U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and state Auditor Nicole Galloway – will go before voters in November.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California, addresses a packed audience at Thursday's annual NAACP dinner held June 21, 2018 in downtown St. Louis.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat and rising national star, delivered a two-pronged address in St. Louis on Thursday that appeared to be aimed at elevating her own profile while also boosting fellow Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Both officials were star attractions at the St. Louis County NAACP annual dinner, held at the downtown Four Seasons Hotel.

Many of Harris’ keynote remarks focused on challenges facing like-minded Americans who are upset over various actions by President Donald Trump’s administration.

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

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and her best-known Republican rival, Josh Hawley, agree on one thing: health care — including its rising costs — is a top issue in their race this year.

And they accuse each other of misleading the public on the matter.

Take, for example, insurance coverage of pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes or pregnancy.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill answers questions during a town hall at Harris-Stowe State University. Jan. 27, 2018
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

President Donald Trump is joining some fellow Republicans who are attacking U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill for using her family’s private plane to make campaign stops around the state.

Said Trump in a Wednesday-afternoon tweet:

“Senator Claire McCaskill of the GREAT State of Missouri flew around in a luxurious private jet during her RV tour of the state. RV’s are not for her. People are really upset, so phony! Josh Hawley should win big, and has my full endorsement.”

At issue is the senator’s recent campaign tour to visit with military veterans around the state. Although she often traveled on a campaign RV, McCaskill has acknowledged that she also at times used her family plane.

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

A few weeks ago, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill headlined a packed campaign event in St. Louis that attracted lots of supporters but few reporters.

That episode reflected what had been the norm for months for many candidates running for office. McCaskill, a Democrat, noted that the public and the press have been almost exclusively focused on the troubles plaguing the state’s Republican governor, Eric Greitens.

“What has happened in Missouri is kind of what’s happened in Washington,” she said. “It ends up being about the governor’s indictment, or the payment to the porn star. And then it makes it harder to get the information out on the positive things I’ve gotten done.”

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

The morning after Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens announced he was resigning, Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Josh Hawley was in Springfield highlighting his endorsement from the political arm of Missouri Right to Life, the state’s top anti-abortion group.

The attorney general’s apparent aim was to reach out to social conservatives – and quickly change the subject from the political cloud that Greitens’ sex scandal has cast over Missouri Republicans for months.

That move fits in with the advice offered by former state Republican Party chairman John Hancock.

“There’s no question but that a lot of the grassroots were divided on how they felt about things,” Hancock said. “So I think Job One for candidates is to get the base to coalesce and unite.”

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill speaks at her 50th town hall event Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, at St. Louis Community College's Meramec campus in Kirkwood. Dec. 16, 2017
File | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is back on television with a 60-second campaign ad that, like her earlier one, ignores her potential Republican opponents.

The Missouri Democrat’s latest ad, which begins airing statewide today, focuses on the 50 town halls she’s held over the past year. In the ad, McCaskill also observes that she expects some of the town-hall attendees “have not and will not vote for me.”

State Rep. Bob Burns' legislation would make it easier to hold disincorporation elections in St. Louis County.
File photo I Tim Bommel I House Communications

Updated at 10 p.m. April 23 with Burns saying he won't resign—The top leaders of the Missouri Democratic Party are calling for a south St. Louis County lawmaker to resign after he praised a radio host who commonly makes racist and misogynist remarks.

At issue are state Rep. Bob Burns’ calls into a radio show hosted by Bob Romanik, a Metro East political figure. He’s often said things on his show that are derogatory to African-Americans and women.

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

(Updated at 12:30 p.m. April 19 with Hawley's campaign-finance numbers)  U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill has  widened her financial lead over her best-known GOP opponent, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, which likely will prompt more allied Republican groups to spend money on his behalf.

The Senate candidates’ latest campaign-finance filings, which were due at midnight Sunday, show that McCaskill has just over $11.5 million in the bank. That compares to $2.13 million for  Hawley.  In both cases, the candidates' totals include aid from other political-party committees, as well as individual donations.

Hawley’s money also includes his share of the donations collected during President Donald Trump’s visit to the St. Louis area in March.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri is the latest state to go after Facebook following national news reports that the social media giant has been sharing users’ data with third parties.

Attorney General Josh Hawley has issued a subpoena in order to find out whether Facebook has violated Missouri’s merchandising practices law.

Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, opined on the idea of iron-clad pledges during an interview on his "right to work" vote. While he says he refrains from absolutes, Wieland doesn't envision any scenario where he'd vote for right to work -- which bars arrange
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Control of the United States Senate could depend on how well Democrats like Bob Butler fare in Jefferson County.

That might sound like hyperbole, but it’s not too far from the truth. Butler, an attorney who unsuccessfully ran for the House in 2014 and 2016, is one of two Democrats seeking to oust state Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial.

Democrats like U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and state auditor Nicole Galloway need strong performances in Jefferson County to win their elections — and will depend on people like Butler to bring Democratic voters to the polls.

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is calling for Congress to do more to curb sharp increases in prescription drug prices.

 The Missouri Democrat on Monday unveiled a new congressional report showing that, since 2012, the top 20 drugs prescribed for Medicare recipients have gone up in price far faster than inflation.

“What we found is startling; in some ways it’s shocking, and it’s certainly troubling,’’ the senator said at a news conference held at the Five Star Senior Center at 2832 Arsenal St., which serves elderly residents in parts of southeast St. Louis.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announces he's issuing subpeonas in his Mission Continues investigation.
Erin Achenbach I St. Louis Public Radio

Attorney General Josh Hawley announced he’s issued 15 subpoenas as part of an investigation into how Gov. Eric Greitens’ campaign received a fundraising list from a veterans charity he founded.

He also said he would fight any attempt by Greitens to use “executive privilege” in the matter. Representatives of Greitens’ campaign did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

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