By Joe Barker

Union Missourian Editor

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) doesn’t expect to win Franklin County in November.

Speaking at a campaign event Saturday afternoon at the McKinley Building in Union, McCaskill said she knows Franklin County is a heavily Republican area. However, after seeing the results of the Right to Work vote in the August primary election, McCaskill said her campaign has set up an office in Union.

McCaskill is facing off against current Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley in November to keep her seat in the Senate. McCaskill told the packed crowd the race is going to be close and every vote matters.

“All the polls are going to say it’s close,” she said. “There’s going to be a poll that says I’m ahead, there’s going to be a poll that says he’s ahead. You know why? It’s close.”

The senator was on hand to greet volunteers and encourage people to spread the word about her campaign. Dozens of people filled the tiny room and surrounding hallways to near capacity to have a chance to interact with McCaskill.

“This is amazing,” she said regarding the crowd. “I didn’t expect an overflow crowd in Union.”

McCaskill spoke about the importance of the race and contrasted her campaign with her opponent. She seized on the recent Right to Work vote.

In early August, Missouri voters defeated Proposition A and overturned legislation passed by the state in 2017. The so-called Right to Work bill would have prohibited, as a condition of employment, forced membership in a labor organization or forced payments of dues or fees to a union.

The measure was massively unpopular across the state. Missouri voters defeated Prop A by a 2-to-1 margin. In Franklin County, 73 percent of voters opposed the measure.

“I’m not going to pull any punches here, we all know this is not exactly the bluest county in Missouri,” she said. “We all know this is not a reliably Democratic area. That’s just not what Franklin County is, but that’s not what happened with Right to Work for less. The vote was 73-21 and that’s amazing. We know it’s there. We know the people of Franklin County want someone who is on their side.”

McCaskill said Right to Work was pushed by a big money donor who funded the campaigns of Hawley and then-governor Eric Greitens. She said she opposed the the measure and Hawley won’t share how he voted.

“He voted yes on Prop A and he’s afraid to tell you how he voted,” she said. “This was a guy who was for it. If you ask him about it, he changes the subject.”

McCaskill also chided Hawley for his nonsupport of a minimum wage increase and his views on health care.

The senator took some questions from the crowd. The first was about the ongoing confirmation process for Supreme Court justice candidate Brett Kavanaugh.

McCaskill was asked how she was going to vote on his confirmation. She said she’s still undecided. She told the crowd she has long been an independent thinker and this case is no different. She said politically, it’s a no-win situation for her.

If she votes to confirm, Democrats will criticize her. If she votes to deny, Republicans will take aim, she said.

McCaskill said she’s going to review as much information as possible and then make what she considers the right vote.

“People keep saying, ‘Oh she’s trying to figure out the winner politically,’ ” she said. “There is none. No matter what I do, there are downsides to it so it frees me up to do what I think is the right thing.”