Politics & Policy

McCaskill: Kavanaugh Hearings Helped Doom Reelection Bid

Senator Claire McCaskill in Washington, D.C., November 8, 2017. (Joshua Roberts/REUTERS)

Senator Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) on Thursday said that Brett Kavanaugh’s highly charged confirmation hearings had hurt her failed bid for reelection.

“What that whole spectacle did was get a whole lot of [Republican voters] off the couch, and that really made the difference,” McCaskill told the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

Kavanaugh, a conservative federal judge, faced multiple allegations of sexual assault during his heated confirmation hearings, which divided the Senate along almost exclusively partisan lines. He was ultimately confirmed to the high court in a narrow 50–48 vote.

McCaskill, who lost in November to Missouri’s Republican attorney general, Josh Hawley, also said Republicans had done a good job of “leveraging” the “optics” of the caravan of Central American migrants making its way toward the southern border in the run up to the midterm elections. And she admitted that President Trump’s frequent campaign visits to Missouri had hurt her.

“He was there so often, Joe, I figured he had to be building a golf course,” she said.

The Missouri senator said she is “not sure” exactly what kind of candidate Democrats need to win the next presidential election. But she believes the nominee should be someone “inspirational” who can convince independent voters that he or she will repair some of the damage caused by “tribal polarization.”

“I think that’s what most Americans want right now, and I think that will be the winning combination for president,” she said.

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