The Washington Times Newspaper is reporting today that the fate of long-time incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill and her bid for re-election may hinge on her Supreme Court vote.
The paper says that McCaskill is “playing it coy as she gets closer to a confirmation vote on Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, refusing to declare her intention on what is shaping up to be the most consequential vote of her political life.
Her decision likely won’t determine the fate of President Trump’s high court pick, but it will impact her re-election run as a Democrat in Trump country. She is in one of the tightest races on the map this year and under intense pressure from the left and the right over the confirmation vote.”
The article goes on to say:
Mr. Trump, who won Missouri by an 18-point margin in 2016, will increase the pressure with a “Make American Great Again” rally Thursday in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to boost her opponent, popular Republican state Attorney General Josh Hawley.
“McCaskill’s in a difficult situation politically with the Kavanaugh vote,” said Missouri Republican Party strategist Gregg Keller speaking of the Supreme Court nomination. “She has to vote against Kavanaugh in order to placate the pro-abortion left. At the same time, she has to cynically hope the majority of Missouri voters will fall for the idea she’s approaching the vote with an open mind, which she isn’t.”
The paper says that pro-abortion groups including Planned Parenthood, and other liberal organizations related to abortion will be critical in ramping up turnout for McCaskill in November. They are using that turnout effort as leverage on her to come out against Kavanaugh.
“Last week, three liberal Missouri groups — Reproaction, Planned Parenthood of Great Plains-Columbia and CoMo for Progress — protested outside McCaskill’s office in Columbia, Missouri, and demanded that she vote “no” on Judge Kavanaugh.
“We want to save Roe v. Wade. Abortion access is so important for women and people in general,” Reproaction organizer Evonnia Woods told KOMU-TV.
McCaskill insists she is carefully considering the qualifications of Judge Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, whom Senate Democrats lined up against and attempted to derail his confirmation hearings last week.
“What we’re really deciding on here is competence and qualifications but also whatever biases he might bring to the bench,” she told reporters during the raucous hearings.
Hawley keeps hammering McCaskill over the Kavanaugh vote. He hit the two-term senator for the treatment of the judge and the circus atmospheres of the hearings, where there were outbursts from protesters in the audience and Senate Democrats on the dais.
“Sen. McCaskill should condemn this nonsense and condemn this outrageous behavior from her colleagues,” said Mr. Hawley. “She should call on [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer and the Democrats to treat this process with dignity, to give Judge Kavanaugh a fair hearing — and call on them to support Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. That’s what the people of this state voted for in 2016.”
McCaskill is not a member of the Judiciary Committee and therefore did not participate in the hearings. But she was one of the handful of Democrats to meet with Judge Kavanaugh.
After the Aug. 21 meeting, she said she would not make a decision until after the hearings.
The McCaskill campaign would not answer questions about her position after the final day of confirmation hearings Friday.
Several Senate Democrats running in states Mr. Trump won in 2016 face a similar dilemma over Judge Kavanaugh. They include Bill Nelson in Florida, Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Jon Tester in Montana, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and Joe Manchin III in West Virginia.
Hawley has been leading McCaskill in polls since the spring and a latest polls, NBC/Marist poll and a Missouri Scout poll last month, have them virtually tied.
The campaign has swung into overdrive with a tremendous amount of advertising, primarily on the McCaskill side, airing across the state. Millions of dollars have poured into a PAC set up for her by ultra liberal and activist billionaire George Soros.