COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley took a cue from President Donald Trump on Sunday and said Missouri voters are motivated by "mob behavior" by Democrats.
Hawley during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" tried to tap into frustration over his Democratic rival Sen. Claire McCaskill's vote against U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation. He said the "debacle" of Kavanaugh's confirmation process is energizing voters ahead of the Nov. 6 election.
"They cannot believe the conduct of these Senate Democrats," Hawley said. "They can't believe the smear campaign that they launched, and by the way, how they drug Dr. Ford through the mud, as well, and now, this mob behavior that we're seeing all over the country. It is motivating folks."
McCaskill said she voted against Kavanaugh largely because of his opinion that anonymous "dark money" spending on issues ads in campaigns should not be curbed.
Hawley's comments echo warnings from Trump and other Senate Republicans as they seek to drive up enthusiasm among GOP voters ahead of the midterm elections.
Republicans view McCaskill's seat as a top opportunity to flip a U.S. Senate seat. She's among 10 Senate Democrats up for re-election in states Trump won. The president won Missouri by 19 percentage points in 2016.
Hawley on "Meet the Press" also defended his decision as Missouri's attorney general to have the state join a lawsuit that seeks to undo former President Barack Obama's health care law. McCaskill has criticized Hawley for the move, saying that if the lawsuit succeeds, it would lead to the loss of health care insurance protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, pre-existing conditions were a roadblock for coverage for people with health issues and who attempted to get an individual insurance policy
Pressed on his role in the lawsuit, Hawley said insurance companies "should be required, by law, to protect folks with pre-existing conditions" and said Congress should mandate that.
"We don't have to have Obamacare to do it," Hawley said.