Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill stopped in Columbia on Monday, the last day before the midterm election, holding a news conference with local veterans at Orr Street Artists Studio.
The campaign stop is part of a tour focusing on veterans’ issues that began last week and comes as an extremely close re-election campaign against Republican Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley winds down.
McCaskill has identified herself as a moderate and has not had other Democratic politicians with her as she has made many of her campaign stops, though former Vice President Joe Biden stumped for her in the St. Louis area last week.
On Monday she brought up her independent stance and asked the audience if they had ever been irritated by her Senate votes.
“That’s because I try to call them based on the issue and not the party line,” McCaskill said.
She said Trump’s multiple rallies in Missouri show Hawley is a “party-line guy.”
McCaskill said America needs someone who can compromise to get things done.
University of Missouri political science professor Andrea Benjamin said her campaign strategy is meant to help McCaskill connect with independent and Republican voters.
“The reality is at every level of our state we have a republican majority,” Benjamin said.
“She really has an uphill battle. She’s there to think independently and to think about our state first.”
McCaskill and Hawley have visited mid-Missouri often in their campaigns. President Donald Trump held a rally in Columbia last Thursday to campaign for Hawley and several statewide GOP officials stumped for him Monday morning in Jefferson City.
“The goal is to encourage those of us in the middle of the state, not the big cities, to turn out and vote,” Benjamin said. “In order to do that they have to come here, they have to get us excited and they have to mobilize us.”
Benjamin said McCaskill’s incumbency should benefit her, but the election will depend on the voters who show up to the polls.