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Hillary Clinton to discuss racial issues during visit to Florissant church

Hillary Clinton
Official photo | Department of State
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Updated with endorsement from Rep. Lacy Clay - Top Missouri Republicans are organizing a “Stop Hillary’’ campaign in preparation for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s stop Tuesday in St. Louis.

Besides raising money, Clinton plans to participate in a community meeting at Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant. "The conversation will address the massacre in Charleston and broader issues around strengthening communities," her campaign said.

Church leaders are in charge of issuing invitations to attendees.

Before her appearance at the church, U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-University City, endorsed her candidacy for president. In a statement, he said, "Secretary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, share my lifelong commitment to expanding opportunities for women, minorities and working families who are struggling to achieve economic security and a chance at a better life for their children."

Meanwhile, the campaign arm of U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., sent out an email missive Sunday seeking “1,000 Missourians” to assist the Stop Hillary effort.

“Hillary Clinton is coming to Missouri on Tuesday for a high-dollar fundraiser,” said the email, signed by Andy Blunt, the senator’s son and a veteran political consultant. “This visit is the start of her campaign to turn Missouri into a battleground state, and she will spend millions of dollars and stop at nothing to make that happen.”

Andy Blunt then highlighted the reason for the email: “Her campaign’s TV ads and turnout efforts could affect Missouri Republicans up and down the ballot in 2016.”

Roy Blunt is expected to seek re-election in 2016 and, if so, would be the top Missouri Republican on the statewide ticket. So far, Blunt has all but ignored his Democratic rival, Secretary of State Jason Kander.

But his campaign, and those of the other Republicans on the statewide ballot, appear to be focusing on how they could be helped or hurt by the vote-getting power of the 2016 GOP and Democratic presidential candidates.

Will Clinton make a bid for Missouri?

Missouri hasn’t been a presidential battleground since 2008, and hasn’t been carried by the Democratic nominee since Bill Clinton in 1996.

Still, presidential coattails can be short. In 2012, Republican Mitt Romney carried the state by about 260,000 votes over President Barack Obama. But Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., defeated Republican Todd Akin by almost 430,000 votes, leading a Democratic wave that carried most of the party’s downballot statewide candidates to victory.

This time, McCaskill and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon are among the state's leading Democrats who already have endorsed Clinton for president. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is also a longstanding ally.

Some Republican and Democratic activists aren’t sure if Hillary Clinton, or any other Democratic presidential candidate, could carry Missouri in 2016. But Clinton’s allies contend that she is prepared to campaign in the state as part of a broader quest to carry various Midwestern states.

In any event, Clinton – like Obama in his 2012 bid – is expected to travel to Missouri for campaign fundraising visits, as are Republican presidential contenders.

Clinton’s visit Tuesday is her first to Missouri since she officially kicked off her presidential campaign. Besides her public appearance at the church, Clinton will headline a private fundraising event at Grant's Farm in south St. Louis County. The fundraiser is hosted by Trudy Busch Valentine, a member of the prominent Busch family that used to own Anheuser-Busch Companies.

Blunt’s campaign email signals that Missouri Republicans are hoping to at least curb Hillary Clinton’s public political activities in the state.

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