The latest polling for Missouri's U.S. Senate race indicates the incumbent's decision to vote against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh hasn't moved the needle even an inch one way or the other. Challenger Josh Hawley (R) still holds a slight edge over Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) in a race which remains too close to call.
What are the details?
A survey by the Missouri Scout shows 48 percent of likely voters are leaning toward Attorney General Josh Hawley, while 46 percent plan to choose McCaskill. The poll was conducted Sept. 26-27, one week after McCaskill made the decision to vote against Kavanaugh's nomination.
The Missouri Scout's latest reported numbers reflect the same results Remington Research showed in July: 48 percent for Hawley, 46 for McCaskill. The race is one of the most contentious (and expensive) in the country for this year's midterm elections, seen as an opportunity for Republicans to grab a seat held by a vulnerable Democrat.
According to McCaskill, the reason for her expected "no" vote on Kavanaugh has nothing to do with the sexual assault allegations against the nominee. She said in a statement that while the accusations the judge faces are "troubling," her decision to vote against his confirmation has to do with "his allegiance to the position that unlimited donations and dark anonymous money, from even foreign interests, should be allowed to swamp the voices of individuals."
But Hawley accused McCaskill of opposing Kavanaugh for a different reason altogether. The Republican pointed to a leaked video from June, showing the senator telling supporters that she was "physically ill" when she got the news that Justice Anthony Kennedy was retiring.
Tweeting a link to a Washington Free Beacon story on Sept. 28, Hawley posted, "Here we go. New leaked video of @clairecmc shows what the Kavanaugh fight has really been about all along. Stopping nomination long enough for Dems to take control of Senate. This was NEVER about the truth. #MOSEN"
Here we go. New leaked video of @clairecmc shows what the Kavanaugh fight has really been about all along. Stopping nomination long enough for Dems to take control of Senate. This was NEVER about the truth. #MOSEN https://t.co/zZnGKfG6ud
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) September 28, 2018
McCaskill attempted to stay out of the fray when asked about Kavanaugh by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch over the weekend, dismissing assertions from other Democrats that the judge didn't show the temperament needed for a spot on the nation's top court when he responded to the accusations against him during testimony last week.
"He has served on the bench for some time now," McCaskill said. "He does not have a history of being inappropriately emotional or unwound on the bench, so I don't know. I know that I don't need to get to that (as a reason to oppose Kavanaugh) because I have already made up my mind."
McCaskill went on to say that she could relate to the emotion shown by Kavanaugh while he defended himself over sexual assault allegations during his testimony.
"I come home to a husband who is not very happy about how his reputation is being sullied with lies," she said. "Now I am not saying that this is the same situation, because I don't think Dr. Ford is lying.
"But I can understand that (Kavanaugh) is emotional about seeing something that he has clearly worked toward his entire life...slipping away. I think he reacted in a very emotional way and I can understand why you could have high emotion at that moment."
McCaskill's taken heat over reports that businesses linked to her husband, businessman Joseph Shepard, have raked in $131 million in federal subsidies since she's held her Senate position.
Hawley and McCaskill will face off Nov. 6 in the midterm election. President Donald Trump won the state by 19 points in 2016.