It’s no secret that Missouri’s Senate seat will be one of the hotly contested races in 2018. As we’ve covered previously, Claire McCaskill is running for re-election in a state which went for Donald Trump in 2016 by 19 points. There’s a GOP super-majority in the state legislature, and all but one statewide office are held by Republicans. It’s pretty red ’round here these days.

Still, McCaskill is a fairly savvy politician. And she’s doing her darndest to shore up her “moderate” creds in order to take on her GOP challenger this fall.  Our current Attorney General, Josh Hawley, is thought to be the most likely contender.

CNN has some bad news for McCaskill, though. In a piece this morning, they count hers among “the 10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2018.” Per the article:

3. Missouri

Incumbent: Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill
This is the state where the Steve Bannon vs. Mitch McConnell civil war is on hold and things are largely going according to plan for Republicans.
McCaskill is one of five Democratic senators up for re-election in a state Trump won by double digits in 2016. Unlike the special election in Alabama and contests in several other states — including Nevada and Arizona — Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, and McConnell, the Senate majority leader, are both backing Attorney General Josh Hawley here. McConnell pointed to Hawley at a news conference a month ago as the type of candidate he believes “can actually win.”
This race will be expensive and brutal. Expect Democrats to cast Hawley, who just won his job a year ago, as a ladder-climber.
If the worst ammo the Dems have against Hawley is his being a ladder-climber, they’re in trouble. I wouldn’t count McCaskill out yet, though. She’s a scrapper. This should prove to be a fascinating showdown.
Expensive. And brutal.  I’m getting the popcorn ready!
h/t @MORisingAction
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