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Hawley in Damage Control Mode as GOP “Sound Alarms” Over His Campaign

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Hawley Facing “Widespread Rumors of Buyer’s Remorse in the Party”

Former Senator Kit Bond: “If Hawley Doesn’t Gear It Up and Get With It, He’ll Not Beat” McCaskill

Judges send message to Missouri AG Josh Hawley: “Do your job.”

After weeks of missteps and falling “far short” of fundraising expectations, Missouri and national Republicans are second guessing their star recruit, forcing Josh Hawley into damage control mode. The best defense his allies could muster: “there’s nothing strange about Josh Hawley.” Worse? They also excuse Hawley’s lackluster campaign as the result of his focus on his work – but a judge recently fined Hawley for “continued and belated” failure to do his job.

From Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman David Bergstein: “Josh Hawley is tumbling down the ladder of credibility – which is exactly what happens when you’re only working to advance your own political career. His invisible campaign, derogatory comments about women, and the barrage of criticism he’s earned for failing to do his job all explain why Republicans are beginning to panic about him.”

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

  • Josh Hawley, the Missouri attorney general and rising Republican star who appeared to have a clear path to the party’s U.S. Senate nomination this year, is now facing vague but widespread rumors of buyer’s remorse in the party.
  • The concerns about Hawley’s campaign… focus on his fundraising, which is solid by most standards but hasn’t kept up with McCaskill’s financial juggernaut.There is also the fact that she has been stumping all over Missouri while he has mostly remained on the job in Jefferson City. His recent comments blaming sex trafficking on the sexual revolution of 50 years ago got unwanted national attention and have added to the sense of a campaign adrift.
  • Politico reported Friday that U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, who decided last year not to seek the Senate seat, had been recently approached by some in the party about reconsidering.
  • Other whispers abound. On Monday, USA Today quoted former Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, R-Mo., warning: “If Hawley doesn’t gear it up and get with it, he’ll not beat her.” A Roll Call story this week asks, “What’s going on with the Missouri Senate race?”

Kansas City Star: After former Sen. Bond warns about Hawley campaign, Danforth and Talent push back.

  • Former U.S. Sens. Jack Danforth and Jim Talent pushed back Tuesday on the notion that Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has mismanaged his Senate campaign, a day after fellow Republican Kit Bond sounded alarms about the high-stakes race.
  • Bond’s concern about the race comes at a time when there is speculation that U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, a St. Louis area Republican, may reconsider whether to enter the race.
  • [In defending Hawley, Danforth said,] “There’s nothing strange about Josh Hawley. There’s nothing Akin-like.”
  • Despite his confidence in Hawley, Danforth said he expects a close general election race because of McCaskill’s skill as a candidate.

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.
  • Those concerns have motivated some to go as far as urging GOP Rep. Ann Wagner, who ruled out a Senate bid last year, to reconsider… The chatter underscores concerns about Hawley, Missouri’s attorney general.
  • The recent apprehension over his candidacy stems from two factors: Hawley’s fundraising and a recent comment blaming sex trafficking on the “sexual revolution.”
    • Hawley’s fundraising haul has raised some eyebrows… Hawley raised just shy of $1 million in the final quarter of 2017, ending the year with $1.2 million in the bank… During that same three-month stretch, McCaskill pulled in $2.9 million, bringing her cash on hand to $9 million.
    • The concerns also extend to Hawley’s recent gaffe on the campaign trail. It’s a misstep that echoes back to 2012 for Republicans, when McCaskill eked out a reelection after her Republican opponent made his own controversial comments about women’s issues. 
  • That unease has translated into vocal criticism of Hawley from top Missouri Republicans, including some who have vocally prodded Wagner to take another look.

See also:
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Judges send message to Missouri AG Josh Hawley: Do your job.
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.

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