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Republican Hawley Tops McCaskill in Missouri’s U.S. Senate Race

Samuel King
KCUR 89.3 file photo
Josh Hawley talks with a voter during a campaign event in October.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley will have a different title come January: U.S. senator. Hawley, a Republican, ousted incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill in Tuesday’s midterm.

With the win, Republicans will hold both of Missouri’s seats in that chamber. It’ll also mean Gov. Mike Parson will need to appoint an interim attorney general who’ll serve through 2020.

"And I said from the very beginning that this was about defending our way of life, about renewing it for a new day and tonight the people of Missouri said we believe in that way of life. We believe that it's not the past, it's the future," Hawley said during his speech.

It was only the second political defeat in McCaskill’s long political career, and ends her 12-year tenure in the Senate.

"The people of Missouri allowed me, beginning when I was 28 years old, to serve the public, to serve them ... and for decades, I have been blessed to get up every day and work in a challenging and interesting job trying to make things better in people's lives. It has been such an honor, and this state drives me crazy, but I love every corner of it," she said during her concession speech in St. Louis.

Credit Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Sen. Claire McCaskill

Polls showed Hawley and McCaskill neck-and-neck in the final couple of weeks, and President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and former Vice President Joe Biden visited Missouri in the waning days of the contest. Pro-GOP political action committees spent more than $31 million to help Hawley into the seat.

Though Missouri overwhelmingly voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, Hawley’s victory was narrower, by about 10 percentage points.

At a Northland GOP watch party in Kansas City, Julie Elliot of Smithville said she was nervous about Hawley's chances when she woke up Tuesday, believing it was "anybody's to win."

Elliot, who is married to Platte County Commissioner John Elliott, helped campaign for numerous Republicans, including Hawley, and put up signs for his campaign.

"I really like Josh Hawley's economic approach. His stance on tax and less regulation really resonated with me," she said. "And I've seen Claire McCaskill and I'm not a big fan of her policies. I'm ready for something fresh and believe (in) ... his originalist approach on the (U.S. Constitution), and what I think our country started out as and what we should be doing."

U.S. House races

All three of the Kansas City's congressional delegation have been re-elected to their offices.

Kansas City Democrat Emanuel Cleaver, Harrisonville Republican Vicky Hartzler and Tarkio Republican Sam Graves easily cruised to victory over their challengers. They’ve all had several terms in office.

Because Democrats regained control of the House, Clever is in line to head the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee. Hartzler is a member of the House Agriculture Committee.


Missouri Democrats have just one statewide seat after the midterm. Auditor Nicole Galloway will stay in her office after beating Republican Saundra McDowell. Galloway was appointed in 2015, and was seeking her first full term. She is a CPA by trade.

KCUR reporter Chris Haxel contributed to this report. Erica Hunzinger is an editor with KCUR and Harvest Public Media. Follow her on Twitter: @ehunzinger.

Erica Hunzinger is the news editor for the Kansas News Service.
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