ST. LOUIS – Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Attorney General Josh Hawley officially won their parties’ Senate primaries this week in Missouri – and now the race for one of the most coveted seats is on.
The Missouri Senate race is one of the toughest to win in 2018, and voters are focused on a major issue that could spell trouble for McCaskill: the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
“I think if she votes against the Trump nominee, I think it will be enough that if the Republicans get organized and get back together; they can defeat her,” Missouri resident Tom Pogemiller told CBN News.
President Donald Trump won Missouri by almost 20 points in 2016. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) says many in her state supported Trump because of the president’s potential impact on the court system.
“It’s huge – there’s a lot of voters that I talked to, especially in my district during the last election. Some of them voted for Donald Trump specifically because of the court, not just the Supreme Court, but what he would be able to do to impact the federal bench also,” Wagner explained.
McCaskill hasn’t publicly announced her stance on Kavanaugh yet and plans to meet with him in August. While she voted against Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation, she tells CBN News she’s voted in favor of 68 percent of the president’s picks and tries to work with her Republican colleagues in Washington.
“That’s what people really want. They want us to quit yelling at each other and they want us to start working together and I’ve got a lot of proof points that that’s exactly the senator I’ve been and I’m hopeful that’ll be enough,” said McCaskill.
Her Republican opponent, Attorney General Hawley, a former clerk for Chief Justice John Roberts, says he thinks the most important vote a senator casts is for a Supreme Court justice.
“Sen. McCaskill should be leading her party on this issue, she should be out there challenging Democrats to support Kavanaugh and she should pledge to support him right now,” Hawley told reporters earlier this week.
One priority facing Hawley is trying to repair and unite a state Republican Party that’s struggled since the May resignation of Gov. Eric Greitens over reports of affairs and misconduct.
Hawley and McCaskill will face off in a series of debates before the November election, and both parties see this as a critical Senate seat to win in 2018.