Former U.S. Sen. Jack Danforth and other prominent Missouri Republicans are urging the state’s new attorney general to jump into the race for U.S. Senate in 2018.
Attorney General Josh Hawley took office only three months ago, but Danforth and other signatories of an open letter, which was published Monday, say he is off to an “impressive start” and has made clear his “commitment to excellent service in that important office.”
They urge him to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill when she stands for re-election in 2018 in a state that President Donald Trump won by double digits.
“In their determination to defeat the President at every turn, Democratic senators have disabled the legislative process and rendered Congress dysfunctional. Pressed hard by the left wing of her party, Senator McCaskill has been an active participant in this effort, witness her filibuster of the Gorsuch nomination,” the letter states.
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Hawley’s name has been floated in Republican circles as a potential Senate candidate for several months, but in March he said he was not planning on running. On Monday, he said in a statement that his focus remained on his current position.
“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.”
McCaskill’s office did not immediately comment on the letter.
Signatories of the letter include Republican megadonor David Humphreys, former Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, former state Sen. Jane Cunningham and former Missouri Board of Education President Peter Herschend.
The letter comes amid speculation of upcoming announcements from other potential GOP candidates for the seat, which McCaskill has held since 2007.
U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, a Ballwin Republican, has been considering a run and is expected to announce a bid in the near future.
Lindsay Wise, the Star’s Washington correspondent, contributed to this report.