Justice vote may decide Claire McCaskill’s fate

Saturday, July 7, 2018

The retirement of a Supreme Court Justice and the expected Senate battle over his replacement has put Missouri incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill on the hot seat.

McCaskill will face Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley in November in a race that will be watched closely. With the Senate narrowly in Republican hands, both parties are looking for Senate seats that might be in jeopardy.

High on that list is the seat occupied by McCaskill.

The incumbent Senator has been a reliable liberal vote and was a very early supporter of former President Barack Obama. She voted in favor of each Obama nominee to the high court and against those nominated by Republicans.

But the upcoming vote may well decide if voters reject her reelection bid come November.

Unlike other Democrats who have gone on record against any Supreme Court nominee from President Trump, McCaskill thus far has been silent.

President Trump will name his selection Monday in a primetime address to the nation.

McCaskill is a highly-skilled and effective campaigner but has stumbled recently.

Her much-touted bus tour of the state, which included stops in our area, was somewhat of a kick-off for her reelection campaign.

But McCaskill was criticized for flying from location to location instead of riding on her campaign bus. In the world of politics, optics are important.

And the optic of McCaskill flying instead of riding did not go over well with some.

At the same time, some minority leaders were critical of the Senator for “ignoring” the needs of minority voters.

That minority vote — and a large one at that — will be critical to her campaign efforts.

Hawley meanwhile is new to the political arena having just been elected Attorney General. But his resume is long and distinguished and he would do well in a debate with McCaskill.

One reliable poll gives McCaskill a razor-thin lead at this point. But I always discount polls this early in a campaign. Put simply, those polls are useless.

It would be virtually impossible to overstate the importance of the McCaskill-Hawley contest.

Missouri could well be a swing state won handily by President Trump two years ago that could determine the power structure in the United States Senate.

There is but one thing that is certain.

Millions upon millions of dollars will pour into Missouri from both parties to claim this all-important seat.

And before election day, you’ll know more about each candidate frankly than you care to know.

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