Come November, it's expected to be a face-off between Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) and sitting Senator Claire McCaskill (D) in Missouri's U.S. Senate race.
Branding is everything, and their ads are starting to weave the messaging that will define each of their campaigns.
Hawley is predictably being attacked for his handling of the investigation of Missouri's GOP governor, Eric Greitens. The scandals surrounding Greitens have ramped up the competitiveness of this race, given Hawley's difficult position of being required to investigate a member of his own party — twice.
The following clip was put out by the Senate Majority PAC:
This ad tries to trash Hawley over his treatment of the Greitens scandal, but literally also points out the truth that Hawley's "in a tough spot" in the situation.
Here's an ad the Hawley campaign put out, announcing his candidacy:
Within it, Hawley acknowledges that his Senate run was "not something (he and his wife, Erin) were planning to do." That was a critical acknowledgment after the heat Hawley's been given in light of a political ad he put out in his first campaign running for office, accusing most politicians of being motivated by "climbing ladders."
Claire McCaskill is well-known as a formidable opponent in Missouri politics. While she's been flagged as one of the most vulnerable incumbent Senators in the upcoming mid-terms, even her naysayers give credence to her ability to play the political game.
The Hawley campaign was easily able to use McCaskill's former candidate endorsements against her in the increasingly red state:
The snippet of McCaskill campaigning for Hillary Clinton shows the Senator referring to the then-candidate as "the first woman president of the United States of America."
It rightly points out that McCaskill was the first member of Congress to endorse Clinton's 2016 presidential bid. Another excerpt shows Clinton's description of those she deems as stereotypic Trump voters, who "didn't like black people getting rights," and "don't want to see women getting jobs," and "don't want to see that Indian-American succeeding more than you are."
"Team Claire" put out an ad that touts her taking on the case of a World War II veteran who was part of a 1945 mustard gas experiment, and her role in taking on the pentagon while investigating mustard gas tests.
More to come in a race that's being eyed as one of the most contentious in the country.