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Republican Hawley Wins Missouri Senate Seat; McCaskill Is Out

The race was called with 53.3 percent to 43.6 percent of votes in the GOP candidate's favor

Missouri Republican Josh Hawley was able to pull out a defeat of incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) on Tuesday night in his bid to become the next senator for the state.

McCaskill has served in the seat since first being elected in 2007. Hawley currently serves as the attorney general for the state, a position he’s held since 2017. The two remained close throughout the race, which gained national attention because of the chances the seat could flip.

Fox News called the race with 53.3 percent to 43.6 percent in favor of Hawley.

With 63 percent of the votes counted, that put the race in his favor.

“We stand tonight at a critical moment in our nation’s history,” Hawley said on Tuesday night to a room filled with supporters, family, and friends. “Tonight the people of Missouri said we are up to the challenge. Tonight the people of Missouri said we are ready to answer the call. Tonight the people of Missouri said we believe in America, we believe our best days are ahead, we believe in our future, and we are ready to fight for it. And I’m ready to go to Washington to fight for you.”

The Missouri race attracted national attention for good reason. CNN named it the Democratic seat most likely to flip in a report back on March 4. The polls have also remained close. President Donald Trump and other political figures have held rallies in the state and the two candidates have received millions in contributions in a show of just how vital this race was throughout the election season.

Hawley came into the race touting his upbringing in the state and a career spent fighting the powerful. During his time as attorney general, he went up against the federal government on environmental rules, which he argued hurt local businesses and farmers.

He also challenged the pharmaceutical industry for the opioid crisis and tech giants like Google for failing to protect the personal data of Americans.

The midterms overall have drawn a considerable amount of attention, indicative of the political unrest across the country. President Donald Trump’s win in the presidential election of 2016 was seen by many as a rebuke of elitist dogma that hurt everyday people. But critics have seen the midterms as a way to challenge the president and what they see as his racist and hateful agenda.

Hawley has also positioned himself as a constitutional conservative who will protect religious liberty. He previously worked as a constitutional lawyer who argued several cases on the federal level, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He worked on the 2014 case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which allowed companies to be exempt from a regulation on religious grounds.

McCaskill focused on the economy, health care, education and reforming the campaign finance system. Her economic agenda included raising the minimum wage, opposing right-to-work protections, reducing regulations that prevent businesses from launching and more robust consumer protections.

Trump has held rallies for Hawley three different times throughout the midterm season after endorsing him last November; the president has been fully invested in the midterms, as the election results potentially would put his agenda at risk.

He held dozens of rallies across the country in recent months to stir up support for conservative candidates.

McCaskill maintained a massive lead in fundraising throughout the midterms, at $34,811,776. Most of those contributions came from large individual contributions at 53 percent. Hawley was still able to raise a lot, but at a fraction of what his opponent did, at $10,162,603. His contributions also mostly came from large individual contributions, at 66 percent.

Every prior election didn’t even surpass $4.2 billion in spending when adjusted for inflation.

The Center for Responsive Politics released a report last week projecting that the current midterm elections overall will be the most expensive ever, at more than $5.2 billion. Every prior election didn’t even surpass $4.2 billion in spending when adjusted for inflation.

The overall estimated cost would represent a 35 percent increase from 2014.

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meet the author

Connor D. Wolf covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at [email protected].