Rumors and political maneuvers to the contrary, Sen. Claire McCaskill will not seek the Missouri governor's chair in 2016 but will "very likely" mount a re-election campaign for her Senate seat in 2018.
Two-termer McCaskill, 61, a Democrat who lost a race for governor in 2004, thus at least delaying a goal she had to become Missouri's first female governor, told KCUR Radio in Kansas City, "It was a tough decision in some ways, but in other ways it was really simple. I am convinced that where I can have the biggest impact is to remain in the United States Senate," Politico
She said she arrived at the decision over the holidays with her family, KCUR
Rumors began to swirl around a McCaskill-for-governor campaign when she began backing a move in Missouri to put state campaign finance limits on the 2016 ballot, leading to speculation that she was planning a run against Republican 2016 candidate Catherine Hanaway.
Hanaway is the recipient of a $750,000 donation from Rex Sinquefield, a financier and mega-donor who kicked in over $11 million to state candidates in the 2013-14 election cycle, USA Today
Instead of running herself, McCaskill says she will back Missouri's Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster, a converted former Republican, for the governor's mansion.
"We have a terrific candidate that is ready to run for governor and will be a great governor, and I'm looking forward to working hard for Chris Koster," McCaskill said.
Two other Democratic senators, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, also have been said to be planning a switch from national to state politics in the near future, but neither has confirmed that intention, the National Journal
Politico reported that McCaskill said, “I love the work, so at the end of the day, you’ve got to decide if the job you’re thinking about going for — is it a better job than the one you have and can you do more? And frankly, I am convinced I can’t.
“I will not be running for governor in 2016...That’s a firm no."
McCaskill insisted, "This isn’t a poll-driven decision. By the way, my polls are pretty good right now."
Asked if she would regret not becoming Missouri's first female governor, McCaskill said, “It felt wrong to turn away from my seat in the United States Senate toward another job just because it would check a box that I was the first woman governor," Politico noted.
As to whether being in the Senate minority after last year's mid-term elections played a part in her decision, McCaskill said, "I look at the makeup of the current U.S. Senate and I see what might be possible in terms of me helping forge some of those compromises, and at the end of the day the work is too important, the job is too rewarding and too fulfilling.”
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