Politics

McCaskill: Supreme Court Vote ‘Not a Political Winner’

McCaskill’s opponent is expected to make the Supreme Court vacancy an issue in the race

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is one of the most vulnerable incumbents. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The current Supreme Court vacancy is expected to be a central topic in the Missouri Senate race — at least if the GOP nominee has anything to say about it.

Attorney General Josh Hawley, who won the GOP primary as expected Tuesday, has already been using the high court vacancy to make his case against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. But McCaskill said Wednesday that some Missourians will be upset no matter how she votes on President Donald Trump’s nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

“This is not a ‘political winner,’” McCaskill told reporters on a conference call Wednesday morning. She said the calls and emails coming into her office are evenly split between those who want her to vote for and against the judge.

“There is no political calculation on this vote,” McCaskill said. “No matter how I vote there’s going to be a lot of people who are not going to be happy with it.”

McCaskill did not join a trio of other red state Democrats to back Trump’s first Supreme Court pick, Judge Neil Gorsuch. She pointed out that she has supported a number of Trump’s Cabinet and lower court nominees.

McCaskill said she has a clear case to make to voters over the next three months: she’s willing to buck her party, and GOP Attorney General Josh Hawley is not. 

“I’ve taken some very difficult positions against my party ... but i kept at it because I felt it was the right thing to do,” McCaskill said. “I think that’s the big difference that people are going to see with these two candidates.”

But the challenge for McCaskill is not to turn off voters who support President Donald Trump. Trump carried Missouri by 19 points in 2016, making McCaskill one of the most vulnerable incumbents running for re-election. She said her case to those voters who support Trump won’t be any different, and she will emphasize her bipartisan accomplishments.

Inside Elections rates the Missouri Senate race a Toss-Up.

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