Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley won the closely watched Senate race in Missouri on Tuesday night, handing Republicans a significant victory as they look to expand their majority.
Hawley defeated Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMissouri county issues travel advisory for Lake of the Ozarks after Memorial Day parties Senate faces protracted floor fight over judges amid pandemic safety concerns Amash on eyeing presidential bid: ‘Millions of Americans’ want someone other than Trump, Biden MORE (D-Mo.), who was viewed as one of the most vulnerable incumbents up for reelection after President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE won her state in 2016 by roughly 18 points.
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior faces legal scrutiny for keeping controversial acting leaders in office | White House faces suit on order lifting endangered species protections | Lawmakers seek investigation of Park Police after clearing of protesters The Hill’s Campaign Report: Republicans go on attack over calls to ‘defund the police’ MORE (R-Colo.) touted the win saying voters “rewarded” Hawley’s “hard work.”
“I have no doubt Josh will continue his success as a Senator and I look forward to our work together to deliver results for our veterans, families and seniors for years to come,” Gardner added.
Steven Law, the president of the Senate Leadership Fund, added that the Missouri Senate race was a “David-versus-Goliath struggle” and Hawley “will give Missouri the kind of thoughtful conservative leadership the state deserves.”
The successful flip of the Missouri seat from Democratic control is a boon for Republicans, who viewed the state, as well as Indiana and North Dakota, as their best shots of picking off Democratic incumbents and building on their narrow 51-49 Senate majority.
Republicans picked up each of the three seats on Tuesday night.
Defeating McCaskill has also been a years-long goal for the GOP.
They thought they would be able to unseat her in 2012, but then-Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) imploded shortly after winning the Republican primary when he said that women’s bodies are able to prevent pregnancy from “legitimate rape.”
The fight between McCaskill and Hawley remained locked in a toss-up heading into Tuesday’s voting, with several polls over the past month flipping between who was leading or showing the race in a tie.
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McCaskill acknowledged hours before the polls closed that she did not know how the race would turn out.
“I have no flipping idea what’s going to happen tonight. We could win and we could lose,” McCaskill told MSNBC’s “The Vote: America’s Future.”
McCaskill tried to distance herself from the national party in the waning days of the 2018 midterm election. She said last week that she wasn’t one of those “crazy Democrats.” And as Trump hammered Democrats on immigration, McCaskill also said she “100 percent” supports Trump from preventing a migrant caravan from entering the country.
But Republicans were able to seize on the state’s rightward shift to defeat McCaskill, including tying her to the national Democratic party.
Hawley, speaking to supporters on Monday, said the Democratic senator was “just like Hillary [Clinton].” And Trump, making an eleventh-hour campaign stop through the state, urged his supporter to “call Claire McCaskill ‘fired’ ” on Nov. 6.