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Missouri Attorney General to Challenge Sen. McCaskill

Image: Missouri Attorney General to Challenge Sen. McCaskill
Missouri AG Josh Hawley (www.ago.mo.gov)

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Monday, 17 Jul 2017 06:34 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Missouri's 2018 U.S. Senate race was turned upside down in the past 24 hours, as several sources in the Show-Me State told Newsmax that Republican State Attorney General Josh Hawley has just decided to take on two-term Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Hawley, 37, is expected to start an exploratory committee for the race in a few days and make a formal announcement in September. News he had finally said "yes" to a Senate bid came Monday — just as four-term Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., announced she would seek re-election next year rather than challenge McCaskill.

Less than two weeks ago, Missouri Republicans were left dumbfounded when St. Louis-area Rep. Ann Wagner — long thought to be their certain standard-bearer for the Senate — announced she would not challenge McCaskill after all. Wagner was reportedly upset by the frequency with which left-of-center protestors were disrupting her town meetings.

But even before Wagner's surprise exit, several prominent Republicans had written a letter to conservative favorite Hawley, urging him to make the Senate run. Led by former U.S. Sen. John Danforth, R.-Mo., the "Run, Josh, Run" group called Hawley their strongest hopeful by far and vowed to back him no matter who else got in the primary.

A graduate of Stanford and Yale Law School, Hawley was a clerk for Chief Justice John Roberts before entering private practice. Three years ago, he became a conservative hero as one of the co-counsels in the celebrated "Hobby Lobby" case. Hawley helped sculpt the case the Green family (which owned the Hobby Lobby chain of stores) could not be compelled to pay for four types of contraceptives as part of their health insurance for employees.

On June 30, 2014, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court agreed and for the first time recognized a for-profit corporation's claim of religious beliefs.

Running as a solid conservative outsider, Hawley won the GOP primary in a landslide over a moderate state senator. In November, he was elected attorney general with 59 percent of the vote, leading the Republican statewide ticket.

Friends of Hawley told us he was initially reluctant to run because of being elected to his current office so recently. But the urging of Danforth as well as the decision of other party heavyweights not to run reportedly convinced Hawley to make the race.

Hawley's decision almost hauntingly echoes that of Danforth himself. In 1968, Danforth was elected attorney general at 32 and ran for the Senate two years later. Reportedly reluctant to make another race so quickly, Danforth finally decided to challenge veteran Democratic Stuart Symington at the urgings of President Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew. He lost to Symington by a margin of 51-49 percent.

These days, old Republican hands note the similarities between Hawley's decision and that of Danforth — and just hope the outcome is different.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now

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Missouri's 2018 U.S. Senate race was turned upside down in the past 24 hours, as several sources in the Show-Me State told Newsmax that Republican State Attorney General Josh Hawley has just decided to take on two-term Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.
senate, campaign, challenge, Claire McCaskill
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2017-34-17
Monday, 17 Jul 2017 06:34 PM
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