Joshua Hawley | St. Louis Public Radio

Joshua Hawley

President Donald Trump arrives at St. Louis Lambert International Airport to attend a fundraiser for GOP U.S. Senate hopeful Josh Hawley.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This week’s Politically Speaking zeroes in on how President Donald Trump will affect Missouri’s election cycle — particularly U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s re-election bid against Attorney General Josh Hawley.

On the surface, Trump should benefit Hawley — especially because the GOP chief executive won Missouri by nearly 19 percentage points in 2016. Missouri’s public opinion polls show his approval ratings hovering around 50 percent. But Trump has faced a torrent of controversy this week with the Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen court proceedings.

The columns at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
St. Louis Public Radio file photo

A former Missouri state representative is suing the University of Missouri and Joshua Hawley, a Republican candidate for attorney general, over delays by the university in responding to a wide-ranging request for emails and other documents.

Chance Bedell and Stephanie Weidner hand out stickers to attendees before the start of an ice cream social at Lincoln Days.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When it comes to any issue, from abortion to tax cuts, Missouri’s four major Republican candidates for governor admit there’s little daylight between them.

All support gun rights and pledge to put in place a “right to work” law restricting union rights. All oppose abortion and promise to block any settlement of Syrian refugees in Missouri.

Their only key disagreement — laid out at this weekend’s Lincoln Days festivities -- is which is the strongest Republican to take on the likely Democratic nominee, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, left, and professor Josh Hawley came out swinging in their campaigns for the Republican nomination for attorney general.
official photos

As if the University of Missouri didn’t have its own troubles, the state school now is caught in the middle of arguably the nastiest political primary battle in the state.

The combatants are university law professor Josh Hawley and state Sen. Kurt Schaefer. Both are Boone County Republicans vying to be their party’s nominee this fall for Missouri attorney general.

Provided by campaign

Law professor Josh Hawley, now a Republican candidate for Missouri attorney general, is calling on the state’s legislative leaders to take action to protect opponents of same-sex marriage.

Hawley has sent a letter to House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, and Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, in which he asks them “to make sure religious liberty is at the top of the agenda’’ when the General Assembly reconvenes next month.

A colony of embryonic stem cells, from the H9 cell line. The cells in the background are mouse fibroblast cells. Only the colony in the center are human embryonic stem cells.
Ryddragyn | English Wikipedia -

Nine years after Missouri voters approved protections for embryonic stem cell research, the issue has re-emerged as a hot topic in Jefferson City and among next year’s candidates.

A key factor: Missouri Right to Life – a longstanding opponent of embryonic stem-cell research – is linking the issue to its opposition to Planned Parenthood, which operates Missouri’s only abortion clinics.

Provided by campaign

Josh Hawley, a Republican candidate for Missouri attorney general, says that if he’s elected next year, he will act to protect county clerks who object to issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

In fact, “on Day One,” Hawley says he’ll issue an opinion allowing county clerks and others – such as recorders of deeds – to avoid issuing such licenses if it violates their religious beliefs.

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Another Republican has tossed his hat in the ring for Missouri attorney general.

Josh Hawley is a 35-year-old associate law professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia.