Politics

Missouri Goes Red: McCaskill Loses Reelection Bid To Josh Hawley

Reuters

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor

Missouri’s Senate race came down to the wire as Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill battled Republican challenger and sitting Attorney General Josh Hawley to keep her seat for a third term.

At the end of the day, however, Missouri signaled that it was ready for a change — and that change was Hawley.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 19: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) speaks a proposed protection plan for people with pre-existing health conditions, during a news conference on Capitol Hill July 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 19: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) speaks a proposed protection plan for people with pre-existing health conditions, during a news conference on Capitol Hill July 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

McCaskill faced an uphill battle from the beginning and struggled to recast herself as a moderate in spite of a voting record that had aligned over 90 percent of the time with former President Obama and over 80 percent of the time with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. (RELATED: McCaskill Stomps On Fellow Dems As Tight Race Forces Her To Sprint For The Middle)

An “October surprise” in the form of undercover videos released by guerilla journalism group Project Veritas also took a toll on the two-term Senator’s campaign, resulting in her accusing Hawley of perpetrating fraud by helping to infiltrate her campaign — a claim he flatly denied.

In addition, Hawley had help from President Donald Trump, who attended two rallies in the final weeks of the campaign. Other big endorsements and stump speeches came from Rush Limbaugh, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigned with McCaskill, but Obama stayed away, according to the Project Veritas video, because his presence would not have helped her in Missouri.

With voter turnout predicted at 55 percent or greater, Missourians flocked to the polls at rates exceeded only by (some) presidential elections.

Polling places reported record-setting numbers even early in the day.

In addition to the hotly contested Senate race between Hawley and McCaskill, Missouri had a number of ballot initiatives that drove people to the polls, including “Clean Missouri” — an effort to change the way Missouri draws Congressional district maps — and three separate medical marijuana proposals.

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