McCaskill: 'Kavanaugh spectacle' made the difference in midterm loss

Outgoing Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillLobbying world Dem candidate has Hawley served subpoena at CPAC Annual scorecard ranks GOP environmental efforts far below Dems in 2018 MORE (D-Mo.) says that the "spectacle" surrounding Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughGOP eager to exploit Dem court-packing fight Court-packing becomes new litmus test on left Warren, Harris, Gillibrand back efforts to add justices to Supreme Court MORE's nomination to the Supreme Court this fall was key to her electoral defeat.

McCaskill explained during an interview Thursday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that GOP voters in her state appeared to be more energized after Kavanaugh's nomination was nearly derailed in the Senate following allegations of sexual misconduct.

"Up until the Kavanaugh stuff, we really weren't seeing that enthusiasm on the Republican side," McCaskill said. "There was a double-digit difference in enthusiasm between the blue side and the red side of the equation in our state until Kavanaugh."

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"And then it popped up," she continued. "And frankly, it popped up even slightly higher than our level of enthusiasm. So what that whole spectacle did was get a whole lot of people off the couch, and it really made the difference."

McCaskill, who has served in the Senate since 2007, was defeated by Missouri Attorney General Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyGOP steps up attack over tech bias claims Hillicon Valley: Nunes sues Twitter for 0 million | Trump links tech giants to 'Radical Left Democrats' | Facebook settles suits over ad discrimination | Dems want answers over spread of New Zealand shooting video Trio of NFL players intern on Capitol Hill as part of league program MORE (R) by 6 points in last month's midterm elections, helping the GOP expand its Senate majority from 51-49 to 53-47, while Democrats retook the House.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week Showdown looms over Mueller report MORE previously won Missouri by about 18 points over Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIf Mueller's report lacks indictments, collusion is a delusion Conservatives wage assault on Mueller report The wisdom of Trump's lawyers, and the accountability that must follow Mueller's report MORE (D) in the 2016 election.

McCaskill told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Wednesday that she does not plan to ever return to public office, but that she hopes to help the Democratic Party in other ways.

“I am not going to disappear,” McCaskill said. “I am going to help and I think I can help in terms of the party recruiting good candidates, being prepared. I envision trying to help teach candidates some of the basics."