Supporters were not in short supply this week in Springfield to welcome Attorney General Josh Hawley and hear him lay down a debate challenge for his 2018 U.S. Senate race.
The popular Attorney General started off by focusing on the vacant seat in the Supreme Court. He says the nomination of a new justice will be the defining issue in this year’s Senate race in Missouri.
“This is the defining issue of American politics. It’s the defining issue for the country,” Hawley said. “It’s something that I care deeply about. It’s my background, It’s been my career.”
He challenged U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill to a debate on the Supreme Court and laid out his criteria for a new justice. McCaskill is considered the most vulnerable democrat in the U.S. Senate and currently trails the affable Hawley in the polls.
“It needs to be someone who will apply the constitution the way it is written… able to stand up to political pressure,” he said. “Somebody who will apply the law fairly, not based on personal preferences.”
Meanwhile, outside, just across the street from the new office, a few people protested a lawsuit filed by Hawley and other Republicans against what they consider the burdensome aspects of ObamaCare.
“Healthcare is an issue that’s really on top of people’s minds, everyone out here will tell you that,” said Brooke Goren, deputy communications director at the Missouri Democratic Party.
“As the race for Senate ramps up, people really care about healthcare, it’s something they feel strongly about; it affects people day to day. And they want to make sure they have a Senator that will stand up for their health care and Josh Hawley has already shown that he is not that person,” Goren said.
But Hawley says when it comes to health care, Missouri and the nation need to start from scratch. Polls show that the Affordable Care Act is extremely unpopular in the state.
“I support coverage for pre-existing conditions. I think insurance companies should be forced to cover pre-existing conditions,” he said. “What I do not support is big government, big insurance collusion, which is what Obamacare is.”
Hawley also talked about immigration saying he agrees with the President on enforcing the law and the border, but that it’s also imperative to keep families together. On abortion, he says he is pro-life and would support measures to increase protections for the unborn.