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Politically Speaking: McCaskill on the issues at stake in high-profile Senate race

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

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.

This fall, McCaskill is squaring off against Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican who is emphasizing his conservative bonafides — as well as his endorsements from President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

McCaskill is spending a lot of her time on the campaign trail talking about health care, specifically a lawsuit that Hawley is participating in against the Affordable Care Act. That suit would eliminate a number of the health care act’s provisions, including its insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

The senator also has been critical of Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, which she believes will ultimately hurt the state’s manufacturing and agricultural workers.

Among her observations during the podcast:

  • She says Hawley is misleading the public with his claims that Congress could restore protections for pre-existing medical conditions if his suit succeeds. McCaskill notes that GOP Senate leaders have announced no plans to take up the health care issue.
  • She expects Missouri Democrats to ignore any regional or local tensions and to focus on the importance of the Nov. 6 election. “And frankly, it probably will help that I think Donald Trump will be here every 10 minutes campaigning for someone who has not allowed one inch of daylight between him and the president.”
  • She is concerned about the explosion of spending by political groups with unidentified donors in both parties, and plans to make her concerns known to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who she will meet in a few days.
  • She is disturbed by TV ads, aired mainly by outside groups, that allege her family has benefited by federal subsidies for low-income housing. Her husband, Joe Shepard, is a prominent developer. “They’re taking the amount of money that went to people who get low-income housing and somehow give the impression that it goes to my husband.”
  • She is dropping her longstanding quest to become the first woman to become Missouri governor, and says she has no plans to seek the job in 2020 or thereafter.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies    

Follow Sen. McCaskill on Twitter: @clairecmc

Music: "Fortunate Son" by Creedence Clearwater Revival 

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.
Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.

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