Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) will become the state’s next U.S. senator after beating incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill as projected by Fox News. The hard-fought race has been one of the tightest in the country, with the two candidates standing neck-and-neck in the polls for months.
What are the details?
With 41 percent of precincts reporting, Hawley secured 60 percent of the vote to McCaskill’s 37 percent, with Fox News calling the race for the Republican at 11:06 p.m. EST.
Hawley told supporters in his acceptance speech that Sen. McCaskill "could not have been more gracious" in her call to him conceding the race, and noted that President Trump also called to congratulate him on the win.
Sen. McCaskill happened to be giving her concession speech at the same time, telling her supporters "there is justice around the corner." Speaking about the critics of her husband, she said, "you don't even know how nasty they were." But she ended the speech with a gracious nod to the people of Missouri, and wished Hawley well, before warning that she no longer had to be careful about expressing her views.
The latest polling by The Trafalgar Group on Sunday showed Hawley with a lead of nearly 4 points over the two-term Democrat, at 48.3 percent to 44.4 percent.
Conservative heavyweights Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh joined President Donald Trump at a rally for Hawley in Cape Girardeau on Monday, signaling the GOP’s commitment to flipping the Senate seat from blue to red in a state the president won by nearly 20 points in 2016.
President Trump previously stumped for Hawley in St. Louis in March, Kansas City in July, Springfield at the end of September, and in Columbia last week. Vice President Mike Pence also made multiple trips to the Show-Me State for Hawley during the race, campaigning in St. Louis in July, Springfield in October, and again in Kansas City last week.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden stumped for McCaskill last week in a St. Louis suburb. Although former President Barack Obama helped raise money for McCaskill in California earlier this year, he has stayed away from Missouri this campaign cycle — a state he lost in 2008 and 2012.
Democrats fought hard to try to give McCaskill a third term. She outraised Hawley by almost 4 to 1, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, as of Oct. 1, with her campaign bringing in more than $27 million compared to Hawley’s $7.4 million.
Yet the outside money poured into the race dwarfs what the candidates brought in themselves, according to OpenSecrets.org, which estimated that more than $76.5 million was spent on the race by outside sources as of Monday.
McCaskill’s campaign was battered throughout the race with numerous scandals, including her private plane usage, her husband’s $131 million haul in federal subsidies during her tenure in the Senate, and allegations that her husband abused his ex-wife.
As attorney general, Hawley was put in a tough spot over the summer when he had to deal with the drama surrounding Missouri’s former governor, Eric Greitens, who eventually resigned after facing multiple felony charges.
Hawley — who won the AG race in 2016 – was accused by critics of being a political ladder-climber when he announced he would be running against McCaskill before finishing his term.
What does this mean?
Projections as of this writing show the Democrats were able to take the majority from Republicans in the House of Representatives on Tuesday. The anticipated loss of the lower chamber to Democrats made the Senate race between Hawley and McCaskill even more critical to both parties, with Republicans keeping the majority in the upper chamber.
This is a developing story and will be updated.