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McCaskill promotes her town halls in new round of TV ads

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.”

McCaskill is considered one of the most endangered Democrats in the U.S. Senate. She also is among the most successful in raising money, and has opted to spend some of it on early TV ads.

The most recent campaign-finance reports showed McCaskill has five times as much money in the bank as her best-known Republican rival, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.

McCaskill’s first ad, which aired in April, focused on veterans. Longer, 60-second ads, are generally used to promote a candidate’s personality and try to humanize them.

Hawley has yet to run his own TV ads but, with the help of GOP groups, has been attacking McCaskill on a number of fronts for weeks. Their chief message, in news releases and interviews, has been to portray her as out of touch with average voters.

In response to the senator's new ad, Hawley spokeswoman Kelli Ford said, "Claire McCaskill might be flying all over the state in her private jet, but she hasn't listened to a single thing Missourians have said..."

On Monday, Hawley attacked her on Twitter for the senator’s earlier support for the Iran nuclear deal crafted several years ago. President Donald Trump opposes the deal.

Both Senate candidates also have been the targets, or beneficiaries, of TV and digital ads run by outside groups. Combined, those groups have spent far more so far than Hawley or McCaskill.

Follow Jo on Twitter: @jmannies

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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