Missouri's McCaskill: 'People in this state know I'm not Hillary Clinton'

Missouri's McCaskill: 'People in this state know I'm not Hillary Clinton'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillConservatives spark threat of bloody GOP primaries Congress needs to work to combat the poverty, abuse and neglect issues that children face Lobbying world MORE (D-Mo.) on Monday shot down comparisons between herself and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck The Memo: All eyes on faltering Biden ahead of first debate Trump says he's not prepared to lose in 2020 MORE, telling a reporter, "People in this state know I'm not Hillary Clinton." 

McCaskill was responding to a question about her Republican opponent, state Attorney General Josh Hawley, who said during a rally in Springfield, Mo., that McCaskill increasingly reminds him of Clinton.

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"I think the people of this state know that I'm not Hillary Clinton and I think he's just being told to say that because it polls well," McCaskill said. "I think Missourians know better."

"Just like he keeps saying that I'm a D.C. liberal elite," she added. "I mean, I guarantee you this, I've stepped foot in a hell of a lot more counties in Missouri than Josh Hawley has."

McCaskill wrote off the comparison as a "poll-tested phrase" that Hawley is parroting because Clinton's name often evokes a negative reaction. 

"Frankly, I don't think Missourians know him well and it appears to me in this campaign that he's got a lot of poll-tested phrases he's used and I'm sure that's a poll-tested phrase," McCaskill said. "I'm sure they polled it and Hillary wasn't popular."

Hawley and two-term incumbent McCaskill are locked in a tight senatorial race in a state that Trump won in 2016. The race has been notably negative, with both candidates going after each other with aggressive personal attacks. 

The Missouri Democrat is seeking to frame herself as a moderate Democrat capable of bipartisan action, allying herself with President TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE on some policy issues.

Hawley, who has been backed by Trump, criticizes McCaskill as a member of the Democratic establishment.  

McCaskill is widely considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in Tuesday's elections, and polls have consistently shown her leading Hawley by only a few points.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race a "toss-up," its most competitive designation.