Sen. Claire McCaskill, in an interview as she is getting ready to exit the U.S. Senate, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she will not run for public office again. There had been speculation that she might seek the office of governor on the Democratic ticket.
She plans to stay active in the Democratic Party and said she’s planning a yet-to-be-announced initiative, and added that she sees potential in a non-elective public role, such as former Missouri Sen. John Danforth, a Republican, has taken since he left office 24 years ago.
She made it clear she will never make another phone call asking for money. She called that part of campaigning “horrible.”
Sen. McCaskill spent nearly $40 million in her re-election bid. She lost to Attorney General Josh Hawley, who spent around $11 million, in the November election.
The senator, who is 65 years old, said she had made up her mind before announcing her re-election bid that the 2018 race would be her last. She left little doubt that asking for campaign money was “terrible, terrible.” Saying she gave the race her best, “I am really at peace about being done.”
There are many undesirable aspects of being in politics. At the top of the list is the money it takes today to seek a high office. The U.S. Senate race this year was one of the most expensive on record in the state. Most of the money went for television advertising.
To be a serious candidate for high public office today, the person must have the ability to raise money. Lacking that ability, a person doesn’t have a chance. Also, because of that fact, would-be candidates become discouraged and don’t run unless they are wealthy in their own right.
With her experience, Sen. McCaskill has much to offer in the right role. She’s a worker, and whatever she becomes engaged in, no one will outwork her. She’s a proven fighter!
In her farewell address to the Senate Thursday, Sen. McCaskill said she worried about what is happening to the Senate, and how it has changed since she entered the chamber in 2007. She said the Senate doesn’t “work as well as it used to.”
Sen. McCaskill explained: “The U.S. Senate is no longer the world’s greatest deliberative body. And everybody needs to quit saying it until we recover from this period of polarization, and the fear of the political consequences of tough votes.”
She also voiced concern about the leadership in the Congress, which she indicated had too much power and control over legislation. Sen. McCaskill said legislation is written behind closed doors, there are omnibus bills so large that senators don’t know what’s in them, and lobbyists learning details of tax bills before senators do.
On fixing what is broken, Sen. McCaskill said the doors of debate should be opened and the Senate should “reclaim the power of members and committees, and most of all, realize that looking the other way and hoping that everything will work out later is a foolish idea.”
Senators need to take to heart what Sen. McCaskill said.