A rising conservative star running to oust Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., got a big boost from the White House on Wednesday with an endorsement from President Trump.
Trump threw his support behind Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley during a speech in the Show-Me State intended to whip up support for the Republican party's anticipated tax overhaul.
Trump gleefully called Hawley “our next senator," to massive applause from the crowd, and promised: “When you're ready, you have my word, I'm going to come here and campaign with you … Got to get you in."
Hawley declared his candidacy for Senate in October and is currently running against former Libertarian presidential candidate Austin Petersen and Courtland Sykes, a self-styled “MAGA candidate."
Sykes is originally from Arkansas and, as of October, had lived in Missouri for less than a year. He stands firmly behind the president despite Trump's endorsement of his opponent.
The problem is, no one knows much about Sykes. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch refers to him as a “man of mystery," and claims, “Several Missouri Republican leaders say they know nothing about the Arkansas native."
The most notable piece of work Sykes has produced is a 40-minute video offering “unequivocal support" for embattled Senate candidate Roy Moore, whose election has been roiled by accusations of sexual misconduct with underage girls. Sykes slams the kind of woman who would go to the Washington Post with sexual abuse allegations as “a sleazy woman who will say or do anything."
Austin Petersen is a former TV producer-turned-libertarian political activist and ran for president as a Libertarian Party candidate in 2016. He lost the party's nomination to Gary Johnson.
Hawley is a proven conservative who has fought for religious freedom throughout his career, including at the Becket Fund and as co-counsel in the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case, which his side won.
Recently, Hawley launched an investigation into Google's privacy practices over concerns that the Silicon Valley giant doesn't adequately secure the massive amount of private data that it collects on customers.
Even prior to Trump's endorsement, Hawley had already been making a big name for himself in the conservative legal world for quite some time, having served as the Missouri attorney general since January of this year.
Last year, Hawley spoke with Nate about his plan to fight federal government overreach as AG and his work before that defending religious liberty as an attorney in the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case.
Jon Miller is CRTV's White House correspondent. He previously worked for Fox News, The Blaze, and Mercury Radio Arts and graduated from Columbia University with a degree in political science and classics. Follow him on Twitter @millerstream.