Government & Politics

McCaskill plans town halls as she faces attacks from right, challenge from left

Sen. Claire McCaskill has announced a series of town hall meetings across Missouri. Meanwhile, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has launched a new radio ad campaign against the Democratic senator, who will face re-election next year in a state that President Donald Trump won by double digits.
Sen. Claire McCaskill has announced a series of town hall meetings across Missouri. Meanwhile, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has launched a new radio ad campaign against the Democratic senator, who will face re-election next year in a state that President Donald Trump won by double digits. AP

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill will hold town halls across Missouri this month as the Democrat faces an onslaught of attacks from national Republicans and a primary challenge from the left.

McCaskill’s office has not yet released all of the details about the events, but the senator is promising to hold 25 town halls, including in Cass and Johnson counties, while Congress in on its August break.

“Whether they agree with me or not, every Missourian is my boss, which is why I consider it a must to go to every corner of the state I love, to hear those ideas and concerns directly, and hold myself accountable to Missourians,” McCaskill said in a news release.

The town halls come at a time when the National Republican Senatorial Committee has launched a new radio ad campaign against the Democratic senator, who will face re-election next year in a state President Donald Trump won by double digits.

The rodeo-themed ad attacks McCaskill for opposing Trump’s agenda, including repealing the Affordable Care Act.

“We need someone who’ll grab the bull by the horns and tackle Washington,” the ad’s narrator states. “It’s just too bad McCaskill would rather cozy up to radical liberals in Washington than make America great again.”

Meira Bernstein, spokeswoman for the Missouri Democratic Party, pushed back on the ad’s claim McCaskill has fought Trump “tooth and nail,” noting that the Democrat has voted for more than half of Trump’s cabinet nominees.

McCaskill is also facing a primary challenge from Angelica Earl, 31, a first-time candidate from St. Louis County who describes herself as a “big Bernie Sanders supporter” and “more of an independent than a Democrat.”

Earl, who has yet to officially file with the Federal Election Commission, said she has been running for five months but that her grassroots campaign was beginning to get notice. She says a progressive stands a better chance of winning in a general election than McCaskill, a moderate.

Earl, who was recently laid off from her job as a verification specialist for the Affordable Care Act’s health care marketplace, said she was running “out of fear of losing healthcare.” She supports enacting “Medicare for all” legislation to provide universal coverage.

She also supports legalizing medicinal marijuana and wants to take action to make college more affordable. She holds a two-year liberal arts degree from St. Louis Community College, but she said the cost of college prevented her from earning a full bachelor’s degree.

McCaskill’s campaign did not immediately comment on Earl’s primary challenge.

“I’m having a very hard time getting endorsements. A lot of unions are already endorsing Claire McCaskill,” Earl said. “It is uphill definitely. But my whole goal is that all Missourians feel like we are tied together once again.”

Bryan Lowry: 816-234-4077, @BryanLowry3

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