Government & Politics

Hawley to kick off statewide tour with KC area visit

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley will kick off a statewide tour for his Senate campaign with a public event Tuesday in the Kansas City area.

But don't expect to see Missouri's Republican Gov. Eric Greitens there.

Hawley's campaign team said Friday that there isn't likely to be a role on the campaign trail for the governor, who has been indicted by a grand jury on a felony charge of invasion of privacy. Hawley also is investigating the veterans charity Greitens founded, The Mission Continues.

Hawley campaign consultant Brad Todd told reporters in advance of the Tuesday kickoff that Greitens "has plenty of things on his plate."

"The election is going to be a whole lot more about what happens on the floor of the Senate than in the basement of the Greitens' house," Todd said.

While the distance between Hawley and Greitens has grown, President Donald Trump's embrace of Hawley's campaign signals the importance that the White House and national Republicans place on Hawley's effort to unseat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in November.

Hawley's statewide campaign kickoff tour on Tuesday will be followed by a visit by Trump on Wednesday to the St. Louis area, where the president will host a fundraiser for Hawley.

Trump also will host a roundtable discussion with Missouri-based companies and individuals to highlight the benefits of GOP tax cut bill he signed into law.

The roundtable will take place at Boeing Defense, and Hawley is expected to attend, along with other statewide officials, including State Treasurer Eric Schmitt and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft.

Greitens, once a rising star in the GOP, was not on the guest list released by the White House on Friday.

Hawley is the Republican Party's top recruit to challenge McCaskill, who is widely considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats. She is facing a tough re-election battle this year in a state Trump won by nearly 19 percentage points.

Hawley's Senate campaign consultant Brad Todd, with On Message, Inc., said Hawley will run an “optimistic forward-looking campaign” as an anti-establishment, populist candidate.

He will speak at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Dynamic Fastener in Raytown. The company recently announced it would give $1,000 bonuses to its employees and open a new paint shop thanks to the GOP tax cut passed by Congress in December.

The appearance in Raytown be followed by similar events in Springfield at 1 p.m. and in the St. Louis area at 6 p.m.

Also seeking the GOP nomination are Tony Monetti, Austin Petersen and Courtland Sykes.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.