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Missouri Gov. Parson calls for defeat of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill in November

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, right, laughs along with U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, in orange, during a Republican rally on Saturday, July 28, 2018,  in south St. Louis County.
Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio
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Sporting a Cardinals T-shirt, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson stood in the parking lot of a strip mall Saturday in south St. Louis County to make his pitch to a crowd of local Republicans.

His message? That President Donald Trump is relying on Missouri voters to replace U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill with a Republican.

“The turning point of our country, the United States of America, could very well depend on the Senate outcome in the state of Missouri,” Parson said. “All eyes will be upon us.”

Afterwards, Parson said Saturday’s rally marked his first solo political appearance since taking office June 1. He expects to do more after the Aug. 7 primary.

Possibly with the primary in mind, Parson did not mention any of the Republican Senate candidates. But a huge banner behind him touted the best-known one, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.

Saturday’s event was part of the national GOP's National Week of Action, aimed at reving up the Republican base. U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner of Ballwin, a Republican, was among the speakers joining Parson who discounted any talk of a Democratic “blue wave’’ in November.

Parson told the crowd that ousting McCaskill, a Democrat, was crucial. 

“If we lose that seat, it will be one of the worst setbacks in our state’s history,” he said.

In an interview, Parson emphasized that his aim is to help Trump in any way possible.

“I think a lot of things are going in the right direction,’’ said Parson, who traveled to Washington to meet with the president a few weeks ago. “We just need to stay focused and be able to give them the tools they need in Washington DC.”

Parson told the audience at the rally that there’s no doubt of the national GOP commitment to Missouri.

He said Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have more stops in Missouri since taking office than any previous presidential ticket in the state’s history.

After Saturday’s rally, Parson traveled downtown to toss the first pitch at the afternoon’s Cardinals’ game.

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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