Elections

Bitter Senate rivals agree on this: Swastika vandalism on sign is ‘disgusting’

Missouri Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, left, and her Republican challenger, Josh Hawley, squared off Thursday in a debate in St. Louis.
Missouri Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, left, and her Republican challenger, Josh Hawley, squared off Thursday in a debate in St. Louis. AP file photo

There’s plenty that Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and her Republican challenger, state Attorney General Josh Hawley, disagree on — from the Obama-era health care law to the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

But on one count, the rival candidates’ campaigns agree: The swastika graffiti that was discovered Wednesday morning on a Hawley campaign sign in Missouri’s Andrew County is “disgusting.” That’s how Kyle Plotkin, Hawley’s campaign manager, described the sign after the candidate himself tweeted a photo of it.

“Is this really what it’s come to?” Hawley asked in his tweet.

The picture shows a large red sign with Hawley’s name on it, with the imposing yellow symbol of the Nazi party painted in yellow over top of it.

Shortly after Plotkin’s tweet, McCaskill took to Twitter herself.

“I agree,” McCaskill wrote. “Disgusting.”

McCaskill also alluded to the incident at an event Wednesday at a campaign field office in Kansas City, when she was asked about a radio ad that touts her as “not one of those crazy Democrats.”

“I think the crazy Democrats are ones that — somebody who would paint a swastika on one of Josh Hawley’s signs in rural Missouri,” McCaskill told reporters after wrapping up a stump speech. “I think crazy Democrats are the same as crazy Republicans: people who go too far in trying to make a point to the point that it is not civil. That’s what I’m talking about.”

McCaskill also said that “crazy Democrats would be the ones that get in people’s faces at restaurants and scream at them.”

It was a rare moment of courtesy and civility in a closely-contested Senate race that has implications well beyond Missouri’s borders: The race’s outcome could help determine who controls the upper chamber of Congress, where Republicans currently hold only a slight advantage.

But the moment of agreement came amid an otherwise hard-fought campaign. On Tuesday and earlier in the day on Wednesday, both Hawley and McCaskill had been going after each other in their Twitter feeds.

McCaskill’s campaign account accused Hawley on Wednesday of holding “downright dangerous views on healthcare, dark money, and workers’ rights.”

Hawley, for his part, accused McCaskill on Tuesday of “sponsoring a radical open borders bill, voting for amnesty, voting for funding for sanctuary cities” — all as “the migrant caravan grows,” Hawley said.

FiveThirtyEight, the election and poll-tracking website, rates the Senate race as a toss-up.

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