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What To Know About Josh Hawley’s Move Towards The MO Primary

Just months after pledging to Missourians he would not “use one office to get to another,” first-term Attorney General Josh Hawley is launching his Senate campaign exploratory committee — he’ll undoubtedly face attacks over his dishonest and self-serving statements and a level of scrutiny unlike any he’s seen before.

From David Bergstein, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Spokesman: “Josh Hawley’s announcement only confirms that he’s the kind of politician who will say anything to help himself, and now we look forward to hearing him defend and explain the fact that he lied to Missourians in order to advance his own political interests.”

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT JOSH HAWLEY’S MOVE TOWARDS THE MO PRIMARY:

  • Hawley Is Refusing To Investigate Corruption Complaints Against One Of His Top Donors.  “Democrats are seizing on Hawley’s ties to Humphreys to question his decision not to investigate the accusations, pointing to a 2016 interview with the Associated Press where Hawley promised to ‘make public corruption a top priority here in the state.’ Hawley received more than $3 million in donations from Humphreys between 2015 and 2016, according to campaign finance records. He also received another $1.125 million from employees of Humphreys’ Tamko Building Products, according to a database built by STL Today…the DSCC’s opposition research file accuses Hawley of refusing to investigate the complaints against a top donor.” [The Hill, 7/20/17]
  • St. Louis Post Dispatch: Hawley’s State Campaign Spending “Could Raise Questions About Whether It Skirts Federal Campaign Rules.” “Attorney General Josh Hawley hasn’t said whether he’ll seek a U.S. Senate seat next year, but he’s spending money like a candidate — shelling out almost $170,000 in campaign funds for media production, direct mail and other promotional services in the past few months even though he isn’t formally running for anything. None of the campaign-funded material specifically mentions the Senate, but it promotes Hawley. If that’s meant to lay groundwork for a 2018 Senate run, it could raise questions about whether it skirts federal campaign rules, since the money wasn’t raised under federal fundraising limits.” [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7/25/17]
  • Politico’s Morning Score: Missouri Senate race starts with Democratic web ads attacking Hawley: “The Missouri Democratic Party is out with two digital ads attacking not-yet-a-candidate Josh Hawley, the state’s youthful GOP Attorney General. The first 15-second spot uses Hawley’s own words against him, featuring footage from a 2016 ad where he attacks politicians for climbing the ladder and using their jobs to get better ones. Watch it here. A 30-second spot attacks Hawley for requesting more money for his office during a state budget crisis that forced cuts to aid for seniors. Watch ithere.” [Politico, 7/21/17]
  • Hawley Could Face A Divisive And Potentially Expensive GOP Primary. “Thirteen months out from Missouri’s 2018 primaries, more than a half-dozen Republicans — including at least one sitting member of Congress, a state legislator, two statewide elected officials and a former state GOP party chairman — are considering jumping into the race to unseat two-term Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.” [St, Louis Post-Dispatch, 7/15/17]
    • Wagner Tweeted support for State Representative Paul Curtman and encouraged State Representative Marsha Haefner to run.  [Kansas City Star, 7/24/17; National Journal, 7/25/177/31/17]
  • Springfield News-Leader: “Wagner had been widely expected to run for Senate, and her surprise decision has left the GOP without a star recruit.” [Springfield News-Leader, 7/21/17]
    • Washington Examiner“Wagner’s surprise move, finalized over the weekend, is a blow to the Republican Party. She was the leadership’s prized Senate recruit in Missouri and viewed as the answer to McCaskill.” [Washington Examiner, 7/3/17]
    • The Hill: “Missouri Republican Rep. Ann Wagner has decided not to run for Senate in 2018 in a decision that deals a huge blow to the party’s chances of flipping the vulnerable seat
    • Scripps Media “Wagner, who was the GOP’s prized recruit to go up against McCaskill, a Democrat, has told the Washington Examiner she’ll instead run for reelection to Congress.”
  • Hawley’s Defining Ad Attacking Politicians Looking Out For Their Own Ambitions Will “surely come back to haunt him.” “He won in 2016 in part by running against ‘career politicians just climbing the ladder.’’ That line — from one of Hawley’s 2016 ads — would surely come back to haunt him if he decided to challenge McCaskill.” [Springfield News-Leader, 7/6/17]
  • Hawley Abandoned What He Said Was “Pressing Work” In Order To Advance His Political Ambitions. “‘I am working very hard at the job people elected me to do,” Hawley said in statement. ‘It is far too early to be thinking about any future election with so much pressing work to do.’” [Kansas City Star, 4/10/17]

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