McCaskill to Sanders backers: 'I need you. I want you'

Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillThis week: Senate tries to avoid landmines on massive spending bill The Hill's Morning Report: Dems have a majority in the Senate (this week) Schumer to meet with Kavanaugh on Tuesday MORE (D-Mo.) pitched unity during a recent fundraiser, urging supporters of Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOvernight Health Care: Azar defends approach on drug rebates | Trump presses Senate to act quickly on opioid crisis | Kentucky governor's Medicaid lawsuit tossed Poll finds Libertarian Senate candidate running ahead of GOP in New Mexico Senate GOP targets musicians Ben Folds, Jason Isbell as 'unhinged left' ahead of rally for Dem candidate MORE (I-Vt.) to be involved with her reelection campaign, according to audio posted by the state Republican Party.

"All of you who are Bernie supporters ... I need you. I want you. I want to talk to you. I want you to be part of our effort," McCaskill says in audio from the private event posted Thursday by the Missouri Republican Party.

"We can't get divided in a state like Missouri, or we're cooked," she added.

McCaskill's outreach to backers of Sanders — who ran a failed presidential campaign bid against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton to headline trio of DNC fundraisers: report Allegations of ‘Trump TV’ distract from real issues at Broadcasting Board of Governors Chelsea Clinton: Politics a 'definite maybe' in the future MORE for the Democratic nomination — came as she stressed why Democratic voters should stay united during her upcoming Senate primary.

McCaskill said that in the Senate and on the campaign trail she is "working really hard to make sure our party stays together."

"I'm a little worried about a primary against me because I think the Republicans would want to return the favor," she said. "I think the Republicans might give a lot of money to one of my primary opponents doing a similar thing to what I did for Todd Akin."

McCaskill was referencing her campaign running ads during the three-way GOP primary in 2012 that touted Akin's conservative credentials in a bid to help him win his party's Senate nomination.

Less than two weeks after winning the GOP primary, Akin, a former Missouri congressman, sparked widespread ire when he told a local TV station that "if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Referring to her 2012 ads, McCaskill added during the fundraiser, "I know [Republicans would] love to return the favor, so I've got to be very careful about making sure we all stay together."

The fundraiser from earlier this week isn't the first time McCaskill has floated that she will likely have a primary challenger from the liberal wing of her party.

Referring to the progressive base, she told a St. Louis radio show last month that progressives could primary her because "they don't think I'm pure."

"And I may have a primary because there is, in our party now, some of the same kind of enthusiasm at the base that the Republican Party had with the Tea Party," she told the "The Mark Reardon Show."

McCaskill is one of 10 Democrats up for reelection in states carried by President Trump in November.

In addition to being targeted by GOP groups, who argue they are out of line with their states, red-state Democrats are also facing a wall of pressure from progressives to oppose Trump's nominees and agenda.

No Republican has formally said they will run against McCaskill, but the Democratic senator said she thinks Rep. Ann Wagner, who is close with Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP senator pushes back on Trump’s attacks on Maxine Waters’s intelligence Pair of DC fundraisers aims to boost McCaskill challenger Kansas City mayoral candidate: Trump is trying to define patriotism MORE (R-Mo.), will be her opponent.