Claire Speaks

With two Republican challengers already announcing their candidacy, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill knows she has a big target on her back as the 2018 election cycle is already taking shape.

Uncertainties about whether the “Trump Train” of outsider candidates will continue, or if voters are not satisfied that 2016 campaign promises have not been fulfilled are already in play.

With McCaskill and State Auditor Nicole Galloway currently being the only Democrats holding statewide offices, McCaskill said there are  people who vote for candidates from both parties.

“In 2016, there were voters who voted for Donald Trump and Jason Kander at the same time,” McCaskill said. “It’s hard to tell with national trends, but Missouri has had swings before.”

McCaskill said the Missouri electorate is a wild card and jokingly broke it down to who was watching which television shows.

“You have 35 percent watching Shawn Hannity and think he is 100 percent right,” she said. “There is another 25 percent who watch Rachel Maddow and think she is 100 percent right. Everybody else is watching ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ ”  

Opponents

McCaskill talked about her re-election bid after a Town Hall meeting at Washington City Hall Wednesday afternoon, just one day after Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley confirmed he is running for her seat after less than a year in his first-ever elected office, which he won by touting he was not a “career politician.”

“It’s has to be hard for him to look in a camera and say that,” McCaskill said. “Let’s look at the job. He has no record to talk about.”

Another prospective challenger to the incumbent is State Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, who will be wrapping up his fourth term in the Missouri Legislature next year.

Elections

In 2016, Republicans turned the state of Missouri red with sweeps in every major statewide office, including taking the governor’s mansion.

Sen. Roy Blunt visited Washington three times to solidify his base while campaigning this time last year.

He went on to narrowly defeat his Democratic challenger, then Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander by just 78,258 votes statewide.

In Franklin County, Blunt’s margin of victory was much wider with Blunt receiving 28,258 votes to Kander’s 19,102.

2012

In 2012 McCaskill soundly defeated her challenger Todd Akin after his disastrous statements about abortion.

Early in the election cycle Akin was favored to defeat the incumbent, but was instead trounced by 427,966 votes with McCaskill receiving a total of 1,494,125 statewide.

Even in the seemingly Republican stronghold of Franklin County, McCaskill defeated Akin 21,826 to 21,281, a margin of 545 votes.

2006

After a stinging and narrow defeat in the 2004 governor’s race, McCaskill ran for U.S. Senate for the first time, defeating Republican incumbent Jim Talent, who just four years prior had unseated Jean Carnahan, who had been appointed to the seat after her husband and former Gov. Mel Carnahan won the election posthumously.

Statewide, McCaskill received 1,055,255 votes to Talent’s 1,006,941. In Franklin County, Talent received 19,746 votes and McCaskill tallied 16,890.

2004

After serving as Missouri State Auditor from 1999 to 2007, McCaskill threw her hat in the ring for governor, challenging Matt Blunt in what turned out to be a close election decided by 80,977 votes.

Statewide, McCaskill received 1,301,442 but was edged out by Blunt’s 1,382,419. In Franklin County the margin was wider with Blunt garnering 25,556 votes to McCaskill’s 19,195.