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DSCC BONUS TAKEAWAYS: HAWLEY TUMBLES DOWN THE LADDER OF CREDIBILITY.

It’s been less than two weeks since Hawley’s star began to fall among Republicans following accusations that he wasn’t doing his job, lackluster fundraising numbers, ties to an out-of-state megadonor who also supported Roy Moore, controversial remarks that blame sex trafficking on the 1960s sexual revolution, and comparisons to Todd Akin.

After facing bad headline after bad headline, Republicans began quietly urging Congresswoman Ann Wagner to reconsider running – and Hawley’s own supporters have openly fretted about his campaign.

Now Hawley is full damage control mode, rolling out supporters to defend him with convincing arguments like: “there’s nothing strange about Josh Hawley.” But it’s not helping. Yesterday, conservative TV host Jamie Allman told Republican Senate candidate Austin Petersen that “I would basically say you’re the front-runner here.” That’s a major blow to Hawley considering he’s been held up as the Republican’s star recruit this cycle.

Here’s a look back at Hawley’s weeks from hell:

HAWLEY “TRAILS” MCCASKILL IN FUNDRAISING. Hawley failed to crack $1 million in Q4, an embarrassingly low amount for the GOP’s top recruit. Hawley’s total falls “far short” of Senator McCaskill’s Q4 total of $2.9 million. McCaskill also has $8 million more cash on hand than Hawley.

HAWLEY “IN HOT WATER,” “UNDER FIRE FOR CONTROVERSIAL REMARKS.” First reported by the Kansas City Star, Hawley found himself “once again on the defense” in response to controversial remarks he made linking sex trafficking to the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Missouri’s attorney general blames Sexual Revolution for sex trafficking.

  • His comments laying specific blame on that movement for something as universally condemned as sex trafficking attracted attention from national news sites and raised eyebrows on social media Wednesday.
  • Perhaps inevitably, some drew correlations with Todd Akin, the 2012 Missouri U.S. Senate Republican nominee who lost to McCaskill that year after he garnered national scorn for claiming in an interview that rape is physiologically unlikely to result in pregnancy — a myth of the anti-abortion movement that has no medical basis.

AP: Hawley sees link to sexual revolution, sex trafficking.

  • Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is drawing attention after a report that he told a gathering of pastors last month that sex trafficking is linked to the sexual revolution of the 1960s.
  • Austin Petersen of Kansas City, another Republican running for the Senate, said Hawley’s comments “do nothing but foster a Todd Akin-style culture war that the GOP will lose to a formidable female incumbent.”

GOP LOOKS FOR ANOTHER CANDIDATE. Following Hawley’s “stumbles,” Missouri Republicans began the search for another candidate – and Politico reported that “Republicans in Missouri have approached [Congresswoman Ann Wagner] about reconsidering” entering the race. As fellow Republican candidate Austin Petersen put it, “just the rumor is a big blow to Hawley’s candidacy.”

GOP’S MESSAGE TO HAWLEY: “GEAR UP & GET WITH IT.” This week Republicans officially entered panic mode. Even one of Hawley’s top advocates has publicly urged him to “gear up and get with it.”

USA Today: Republicans fret about star recruit Josh Hawley as Missouri Senate heats up.

  • When Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley agreed to run for the Senate last fall, Republicans crowed that they’d snagged a top recruit and rising GOP star to take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.
  • But Republicans now seem to be a bit nervous about Hawley’s campaign.
  • “If Hawley doesn’t gear it up and get with it, he’ll not beat her,” said former Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, a top Missouri Republican. “I think a lot of people who want to see Hawley elected (are) wishing he’d get to work, doing fundraising and getting out and campaigning actively.”
  • Bond’s comments, made in an interview with USA TODAY, come as Hawley’s campaign hit a rough patch.

St. Louis Post Dispatch: Sen hopeful Hawley, once Missouri’s rising GOP star, facing rumors of buyer’s remorse in the party.

Roll Call: What’s Going on With the Missouri Senate Race?

  • Attorney General Josh Hawley is supposed to be among the top Republican recruits. But some Republicans from the Show-Me State are starting to raise questions about his campaign’s performance so far.
  • In recent days, some Republicans have been questioning Hawley’s fundraising and lack of campaign activity in the four months since he officially launched his campaign.
  • “I think people were able to explain away the lack of activity with the assumption that he was raising big-time dough,” a GOP consultant in Missouri said Friday. “When the big-time dough didn’t happen … this week has been kind of when everybody is starting to freak out.” [Additionally,] Hawley has not held any public campaign events since announcing his run in October.

The Hill: GOP worries about top recruit facing McCaskill.

  • Republicans are grumbling about GOP Senate hopeful Josh Hawley’s lackluster fundraising and recent controversial comments, prompting unease within the GOP that the Missouri Republican could cost his party a chance at unseating one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats.
  • That unease has translated into vocal criticism of Hawley from top Missouri Republicans, including some who have vocally prodded Wagner to take another look.

DAMAGE CONTROL” MODE. Hawley’s campaign has attempted to stem the flow of bad press, but when the best defense your allies can muster is “there’s nothing strange about Josh Hawley,” you know you’re in trouble.

Who knows what next week will have in store for Josh Hawley, but we’re betting it’s more of the same. After all, what else can you expect from a politician who is only looking to advance his own political career?

A non-comprehensive, but still embarrassingly long list of clips from Hawley’s awful two weeks:

St. Louis Post Dispatch: Sen hopeful Hawley, once Missouri’s rising GOP star, facing rumors of buyer’s remorse in the party.
Kansas City Star: After former Sen. Bond warns about Hawley campaign, Danforth and Talent push back.
The Hill: GOP worries about top recruit facing McCaskill.
Roll Call: What’s Going on With the Missouri Senate Race?
USA Today: Republicans fret about star recruit Josh Hawley as Missouri Senate heats up
Politico: GOP sources: Wagner taking second look at Missouri Senate race
Kansas City Star: After weeks of tumult, who is the true face of the Missouri GOP?
News Tribune: Hawley trails McCaskill in Missouri Senate fundraising.
Kansas City Star: Josh Hawley blames sex trafficking on ‘sexual revolution’ of 1960s in leaked audio.
WATCH: NBC 41: Hawley “In Hot Water,” “Under Fire for Controversial Remarks.”
WATCH: FOX 4: Hawley “Once Again on the Defense” After Sexual Revolution Comment.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Missouri’s attorney general blames Sexual Revolution for sex trafficking.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Editorial: Hawley ignores centuries of human trafficking in his spin on morality.
Springfield News-Leader: Josh Hawley on defense after linking human trafficking to sexual revolution of 1960s.
Vanity Fair: The Republican Party Is Having Another Todd Akin Fiasco.
AP: Hawley sees link to sexual revolution, sex trafficking.
The Hill: McCaskill challenger links human trafficking crisis to ‘sexual revolution’ of 1960s.
Salon: Missouri Senate candidate blames human trafficking on 1960s sexual revolution.
Missourinet: Hawley Blames Human Trafficking on the Sexual Revolution.
Fox News: 2 GOP Senate hopefuls in Missouri draw ire for remarks about sex trafficking, women.
Washington Post: GOP candidate blames human trafficking on sexual liberation, saying it leads to ‘slavery’ of women.
Newsweek: Who is Josh Hawley? Republican Senate hopeful blames sex trafficking on ‘sexual revolution’.
Talking Points Memo: Missouri AG Blames Sex Trafficking On ‘The Sexual Revolution’.
The Cut: Missouri’s Attorney General Has a Terrible Theory About the Sexual Revolution.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Judges send message to Missouri AG Josh Hawley: Do your job.

 

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