Hawley defeats McCaskill in contentious Senate race

ST. LOUIS – Two years after winning his first race for elected office, Josh Hawley is poised to claim his second general election win with a ticket to Washington, DC.

Fox News is projecting Hawley has defeated two-term incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill in a race that has had national attention for months.

A Fox News Poll had the race as a tossup less than a week before election day.

President Donald Trump has publicly backed Hawley for months, mentioning him by name in a November speech in St. Charles County to support his tax cut plan. He would return for several rallies across the state, including two in the final week ahead and his final rally of the midterm season in Cape Girardeau Monday night. Other high-profile surrogates who made their way to Missouri included South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham for Hawley and former Vice President Joe Biden for McCaskill.

The race also included Libertarian Japeth Campbell, Independent Craig O’Dear and the Green Party’s Jo Crain.

McCaskill’s seat has long been a target for the GOP, still smarting over her 2012 win over Rep. Todd Akin. Despite talk of a potential Democratic Party “Blue Wave” nationally, McCaskill was seen as vulnerable in Missouri, a state Trump carried by 18.5 points in 2016 and which Mitt Romney carried by nearly 9 points in 2012.

Hawley had been criticized for entering the race after his 2016 bid for Attorney General cast himself as not another “ladder climbing politician,” and his fundraising efforts and a lack of an active campaign was a source of concern for some Republican activists. But Hawley focused the latter stages of the campaign on his support for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who McCaskill opposed. Hawley also sought to tie McCaskill to national Democrats including New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who would be poised to be Senate Majority Leader if Democrats gained control of the chamber following the election.