SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley confirmed rumors Tuesday, officially announcing he will run for incumbent U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s seat in 2018.
Missouri’s Democratic Party has criticized Hawley for being dishonest in his pursuit of that seat. That, coupled with past campaign ads, have some people scratching their heads.
“Jefferson City is full of career politicians just climbing the ladder,” Hawley said in a campaign ad for attorney general.
That very same mantra is now being used against him. In the same ad, Hawley denounced politicians who use one office to get another, ironically displaying the words “attorney general” next to “U.S. Senate.”
A year into his term, Hawley released a different ad Tuesday, standing with wife Erin and their two boys to announce his U.S. Senate run.
“This isn’t something we were planning to do,” Hawley said in the ad.
KOLR10’s Political Analyst Dr. Brian Calfano weighs in.
“That’s not really the career politician thing as it is so much him seizing an opportunity and breaking a campaign promise,” Calfano said. “That’s not a career politician that’s just life.”
McCaskill’s office has been preparing for this announcement, often citing Hawley’s rumored run against her as a way to raise campaign funds.
Her office itself, saying the senator’s Democratic seat is the most likely to flip this election cycle.
“It’s time to do something new,” Hawley said in Tuesday’s ad.
Calfano says the odds are in his favor for a primary election win, “I think it’s a better than 50/50 chance. So if you were a betting person trying to figure out how the Republican primaries are going to go, I think you’d have to be confident that Hawley has a really good shot of wrapping this up,” Calfano said.
If it does come down to Hawley against McCaskill, only time will tell.
“She’s got a really good charm offensive when she goes around from event to event, and she does an excellent job of listening to people who she knows will not agree with her,” Calfano said. “But I don’t mean to minimize the fact that she’s got a really tough road ahead of her.”
Until then, Hawley’s opponents are making sure the irony of his ladder ad doesn’t go unnoticed.
Missouri’s other U.S. Senate seat is not up for grabs, as Roy Blunt was re-elected last November. McCaskill plans to run for a third six-year term in 2018. Meanwhile, Hawley is one of five others who plan to run against her, in what’s considered an already-crowded race.