Missouri's Republican attorney general Josh Hawley officially announced his campaign against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D.) on Tuesday morning and immediately called out his opponent, a two-term senator, for turning her back on Missourians.
Hawley, who won the statewide election for attorney general by double-digits in 2016 and emerged as the clear choice by state Republicans to challenge McCaskill, said in an announcement video released Tuesday that McCaskill "doesn't represent us."
"Senator McCaskill—she’s been in D.C. forever," Hawley says in a video titled "Here in Missouri," in which he's joined by his wife Erin Hawley and their two kids.
"She’s turned her back on farmers. She’s ignored working families. She’s been wrong on every Supreme Court nominee for the last 11 years. She doesn’t represent us. It’s time to do something new."
"The D.C. career crowd just keeps on doing the same old thing, and you know, the system works pretty well for them—they’re connected," he said. "But here in Missouri, we know too many people who can’t get a job."
Hawley pointed to inaction on the cost of health care and taxes in Missouri, and said that was what pushed him to decide he had to run.
"As for health care and taxes, they just keep going up," Hawley said. "Erin and I have decided we have to do something about it, and that’s why next year I’m going to run for the United States Senate."
It has long been suspected that Hawley, who formed an exploratory committee in August, would be running for Senate in 2018. He was urged to run by both state and national party leaders, including Vice President Mike Pence.
He has also long been treated as the Republican nominee by McCaskill, who began leveling political attacks against Hawley during the summer.
McCaskill is considered to be one of the most vulnerable senators up for reelection in 2018 given the margin that President Donald Trump and Hawley won by in 2016. The race is currently rated a toss-up by both the Cook Political Report and University of Virginia's Center for Politics.