After Republican leaders wooed him for months to challenge Sen. Claire McCaskill (D), first-term Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) announced yesterday that he will indeed make the race. The Missouri contest could well become the Republicans’ best conversion opportunity now that Mr. Hawley is an official candidate. State Rep. Paul Curtman (R-Pacific/Franklin County) is already in the Republican primary race, as are three other minor candidates so it will be interesting to see if any movement happens among these contenders now that Mr. Hawley has opened a federal campaign committee. In the early going, the Attorney General has to be rated as a prohibitive favorite for the party nomination next August.
Sen. McCaskill was first elected in 2006, with a 49-47% victory over then-Sen. Jim Talent (R). Her re-election in 2012 came about in large part to her campaign apparatus involving itself in the Republican primary and helping choose the GOP nominee. The plan worked, and she easily defeated then-Rep. Todd Akin (R-St. Louis County), 55-39%. This year, however, she will face one of the better Republican challengers in the country in a state that is moving further to the right than when she last appeared on the ballot.
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