Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill (D) is up for re-election in 2018. It’s expected to be a lively contest, as it was in 2012 when then-Congressman Todd Akin emerged from a tough GOP primary battle only to shoot himself in the foot so hard his great-grandchildren will feel it. McCaskill is thought to be more vulnerable this time around: Missouri went for Trump by 19 points, has a Republican Governor and a Republican in every state office save Auditor, and a Republican supermajority in its legislature. It’s trending quite red these days, despite its more liberal/urban enclaves.
McCaskill’s would-be challengers are beginning to line up. While Congresswoman Ann Wagner, who represents Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District, has announced she won’t be seeking the Senate seat, several others have declared or signaled their interest. Austin Petersen, who was the Libertarian Party’s runner-up to Gary Johnson in 2016’s presidential election, announced on July 4th that he will run as a Republican. Tony Monetti, currently the assistant dean of Central Missouri University in Warrensburg, Missouri, is also running. Just yesterday, State Representative Paul Curtman announced that he is forming an exploratory committee for a run for the seat, as well.
Rumors abound that state Attorney General Josh Hawley also may throw his hat into the race. In fact, he’s been encouraged to by several prominent office holders and former office holders, including Vice President Mike Pence. Hawley hasn’t ruled it out, though per his interview on 97.1FM Talk this morning, he maintains he is focused right now on his current job. Other names bandied about include Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (currently representing Missouri’s 3rd District), Peter Kinder (former Missouri Lt. Governor), Eric Schmitt (Missouri State Treasurer), and Congressman Jason Smith (8th District).
The deadline to file for the seat is March 27, 2018, so there’s still a long way to go before the field is set. Hopefully, whoever wins the nomination will make a point to avoid fatal verbal gaffes.