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McCaskill rips Senate challenger: McConnell 'got his candidate'

McCaskill rips Senate challenger: McConnell 'got his candidate'

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillPompeo lacks votes for positive vote on panel Overnight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes Heitkamp becomes first Dem to back Pompeo for secretary of State MORE (D) attacked her new Republican challenger after a town hall event on Tuesday, accusing him of refusing to answer questions about his basic political positions.

Speaking to reporters outside the event in Independence, McCaskill blasted Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) and congratulated Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPompeo lacks votes for positive vote on panel GOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees Trump has not invited Democrats, media to state dinner: report MORE (R-Ky.) for getting "his candidate" into the race.

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“I want to congratulate Mitch McConnell,” McCaskill said. “He got his candidate. Mitch McConnell worked very hard. I believe Josh Hawley has spent more time talking to the insiders in Washington in the last four months than he has Missourians. He’s got a lot of questions to answer.”

McCaskill added that Hawley hasn't even told reporters "where he lives," an allusion to news reports that found the attorney general living about 29 miles north of Missouri's capital, Jefferson City. State law requires the attorney general to "reside at the seat of government and keep his office in the Supreme Court building.” 

“As you just witnessed, I’ve now for 44 hours answered any question any Missourians wanted to ask of me in places that are bright red,” McCaskill, considered one of 2018's most vulnerable Democratic senators, told reporters.

“Meanwhile, he hasn’t answered any questions. He won’t answer whether he’s for repeal or replace. He won’t answer questions about [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals]. He won’t even tell us really, frankly, where he lives. He didn’t tell us the truth about when he was running for the Senate.”

McCaskill is running for reelection in a state that President Trump won by almost 20 percentage points. Experts look to her seat as one that could flip red, and recent polls have shown her trailing Republican challengers, although Hawley's name was not among them.

The Missouri Democrat has responded to Hawley's challenge by linking him to McConnell, whose popularity in the GOP has been sinking.

“Make no mistake about it, whether Steve Bannon is saying nice things about Josh Hawley or not, it will be Mitch McConnell that will be by and large funding this race," McCaskill said. "It will be Mitch McConnell who is helping Josh Hawley. It was Mitch McConnell that did all hands on deck to get Josh Hawley into this race.”