Republican Josh Hawley Defeats Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill in Missouri

US Senate candidate and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (L) and his wife, Erin, are seen at a rally. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Beating back a liberal suburban groundswell that proved lethal to many House Republicans, Josh Hawley claimed victory here on Tuesday over Senator Claire McCaskill, toppling one of Senate Democrats’ last remaining moderate voices, The Associated Press said.

The contest was one of the most expensive Senate races in the country’s history — tens of millions of dollars in ads blanketed the state’s airwaves — framing the stakes: With Mr. Hawley’s victory, Republicans completed a rapid takeover of a onetime swing state and padded their majority in the Senate.

“Tonight the people of Missouri have said that our way of life and our values are going to renew this country and that is what we are about, and that is what we are for,” Mr. Hawley said to a crowd of roaring supporters in Springfield, Mo., in the state’s conservative southwest.

Mr. Hawley, the state’s attorney general, will be 39 when he is sworn in, making him one of the Senate’s youngest members. His conservative intellectual stature, Republicans believe, has the potential to leave a lasting imprint on the Senate for years to come.

A former Supreme Court clerk and law professor, Mr. Hawley was one of the Republicans’ most prized Senate recruits. The state party cleared the field for his nomination, but a slow start to his campaign prompted some second-guessing.

Ultimately he prosecuted an aggressive case against Ms. McCaskill, successfully painting her as too liberal for Missouri and plastering his “Fire Claire” campaign bus with photographs of his opponent and the Democratic leaders of the Senate and the House, Chuck Schumer of New York and Nancy Pelosi of California, who are deeply unpopular here. He excoriated her decision to vote against President Trump’s two Supreme Court nominees.

Mr. Trump, whose approval rating is higher than the national average in Missouri, lavished praise and support on Mr. Hawley during the campaign, visiting the state twice in the last week to rally on the Republican’s behalf, including a stem-winding last-minute appeal late Monday night in Cape Girardeau. Mr. Hawley initially kept his distance from Mr. Trump, but he pulled the president close in the campaign’s final months. The strategy appears to have worked.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Nicholas Fandos