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What They’re Saying: Hawley’s Primary Bid “Won’t Be a Cakewalk”

What They’re Saying: Hawley’s Primary Bid “Won’t Be a Cakewalk

The Republican “establishment pick” may have hoped for a smoother campaign rollout yesterday, but the coverage surrounding Josh Hawley’s announcement yesterday explored the tough road ahead as he confronts a crowded primary. Here’s what Missourians are reading this morning:

Springfield News-Leader: GOP Senate primary won’t be a cakewalk, Republican competitors tell Josh Hawley
By Will Schmitt

Key Points:

  • High-profile Missouri Republicans were pleased when Attorney General Josh Hawley confirmed his Senate run, but two GOP competitors aren’t ready to back down. 
  • Hawley first must secure his party’s primary nomination. In statements issued Tuesday, two other Republican Senate candidates bashed the youthful, first-term state attorney general for seeking higher office so swiftly and painted Hawley as a lackey of the GOP establishment.
  • Austin Petersen, who ran for president as a Libertarian last year, referenced Hawley’s “Ladders” campaign advertisement from the 2016 election and accused him of “playing politics.”
  • “Unfortunately, he’s now going back on that promise,” Petersen said in a statement. “He’s proving himself to be the worst kind of career politician, one that tells everyone what they want to hear and stands for nothing.”
  • “(Hawley is) telling Mitch McConnell and Republicans in Washington that he’ll be a rubber stamp for their establishment agenda, while at the same time pledging loyalty to Steve Bannon and Breitbart’s takeover of the party,” Petersen continued. “All the while, he’s using Missouri voters as stepping stones to advance his political career. If it looks like a career politician, talks like a career politician, and acts like a career politician, it’s probably a career politician — and we definitely have enough of that in Washington.”

Read the full article here.

Associated Press: Hawley must unite GOP factions in Missouri Senate race
By Jim Salter and Summer Ballentine

Key Points:

  • Republican Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley will have to walk a tightrope between warring factions of the Republican party if he wants to unite the GOP and oust Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill from office in 2018.
  • Hawley’s earliest supporters include Missouri’s moderate former U.S. Sen. John Danforth, 81, a scion of the state Republican establishment and a strong critic of Trump.
  • Danforth told The Associated Press that Hawley’s communication with Bannon is “important for him to get elected.”

Read the full article here.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Hawley officially says he’ll run for Senate, gets quick reaction from Democratic Party for ‘lying’
By Kevin McDermott

Key Points:

  • Hawley, the state’s Republican attorney general — who has been spending money like a candidate, talking with national party officials since early summer and who formed an exploratory committee in August — was set to release a video Tuesday announcing his intent to seek the GOP nomination in the 2018 August primary.
  • Hawley will face some challenges of his own in Missouri’s rocky political terrain… he sits on a fissure between hard-right Republicans who support President Donald Trump and anti-Trump establishment GOP leaders like former Sen. John Danforth, a Hawley mentor and one of his biggest boosters.
  • “He’s caught in the crossfire between Trump supporters and the Republican establishment,” said Dave Robertson, political scientist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. In a state that Trump won by almost 20 points last year, Robertson said, the danger for Hawley is that “he’s going to be seen being supported by the establishment” because of ties to Danforth and others.
  • Hawley also will have to contend with the fact that his announcement seeking his second elective office comes not even a year into his first. He won the attorney general’s race last year in part with a lauded campaign commercial (the one with all the ladders), in which he shamed “career politicians just climbing the ladder, using one office to get another.”
  • With Hawley climbing that ladder himself now, the ad may prove even more effective for the Democrats than it was for him — once they start playing and re-playing it, as they almost certainly will.

Read the full article here. 

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