Politics

Pence Again Presses McCaskill on Coming Supreme Court Vote

Heckler interrupts VP in St. Louis over migrant family separation

Vice President Mike Pence enters the room earlier this month as Sen. James Inhofe, right, conducts a meeting after a Senate GOP policy luncheon in the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence returned to Missouri Thursday to again campaign against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and raise money for her opponent, pressuring her to support President Donald Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee.

“If Claire won’t vote to confirm a judge like Brett Kavanaugh, you need to vote to give Missouri a senator who will,” Pence said in St. Louis of the solidly conservative D.C. Circuit appellate judge.

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He labeled McCaskill a “liberal” in a state that has a GOP senator, regularly elects Republicans to the House, and has a governor from that party. Pence trumpeted her opponent, GOP state Attorney General Josh Hawley, as a “principled conservative.”

“I knew about his record and reputation long before I met him,” the VP said. “He’s as good as they come.”

Pence’s remarks at times drew loud applause from a mostly friendly audience. Near the conclusion of his remarks, a heckler interrupted with apparent objections to the Trump administration’s policy of trying to prosecute any adult migrant who tries to enter the country illegally. If they arrive with children, many of the families eventually have to be split up.

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The woman’s yelled protest was off mic, but the words “separated” and “parents” were audible on the White House’s streaming audio feed of the event.

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The White House and GOP leaders are going hard after McCaskill’s seat. For instance, Pence’s Thursday visit to the Show Me State was his second in just eight days.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales puts McCaskill-Hawley race in the Toss-Up column. An average of five polls calculated by RealClearPolitics gives McCaskill a narrow 1 percentage point lead.

After his remarks at a St. Louis Marriott hotel, the vice president — who has quietly been raising campaign cash for GOP candidates across the country — was slated to appear at a nearby Hilton for a Hawley fundraiser. His tour of the area’s hotels will conclude with another fundraiser, this one for GOP Rep. Mike Bost at a Regency in nearby O’Fallon, Ill.

Bost is also in a tight race with Democrat Brendan Kelly that Gonzales says leans toward Bost.

Pence’s political action organization, Great America Committee, has raised nearly $450,000 and doled out over $320,000 this cycle, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Most of that amount has gone directly to Republican candidates.

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