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Missouri AG Hawley Now Focused on Midterm Election, Debating McCaskill

Aviva Okeson-Haberman
KCUR 89.3
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley spoke to a crowd of a couple dozen people Thursday on a campaign stop in Blue Springs.

Now that the slate is set, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is campaigning for the general U.S. Senate election in earnest. And he’s bringing his trailer with him.

Hawley made a campaign stop to the Blue Springs GOP office Thursday. His remarks to the crowd were similar to what he said last weekend at the same place — President Trump’s Supreme Court nomination and immigration policies.

This time, he had his trailer, decked out with two podiums, a blue banner saying “Let’s Debate” and the American flag. This is where Hawley wants to face off against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in an unmoderated debate — a challenge he reiterated.

Hawley also told KCUR why he declined the chance to debate his primary opponents.

“I’ve always said this race is about me and Claire McCaskill and, look we’re proud to have the support of the party, to be the party’s nominee in this race,” Hawley said. “And I challenge Claire to come to the stage, come to this trailer and debate me. Anytime. Anywhere.”

For her part, McCaskill is also keen on debating; she proposed four town-hall style debates on Tuesday night after it was clear Hawley had won.

“Missourians deserve the same chance to ask you questions and hear your answers as they have consistently had with me,” McCaskill said in a letter to Hawley.

The idea of an unmoderated debate appeals to Hawley’s supporters.

“The problem is, you know, in the past the Republicans always seem to get a moderator that’s from CNN or somebody that obviously is one-sided for the other side,” Lee Tagai said. “I don’t trust a lot of these moderators.”

During Hawley’s remarks to supporters today, he said Trump surprised him by calling to congratulate him on the primary election win.

“And at first I thought, is someone playing a trick on me? But I thought if it was an impersonator it’s really good because it sounds a lot like him,” Hawley said. “Anyway, he was extremely excited about our victory. Extremely excited about our party coming together.”

McCaskill hasn’t been in the Kansas City area since the matchup was finalized this week. She’s slated to talk Friday in Tebbetts, a rural community near Jefferson City, about how tariffs are affecting Missouri farmers and manufacturers.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman is a KCUR news intern. Follow her on Twitter @avivaokeson.

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