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

Outgoing 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.) says that the "spectacle" surrounding Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughDisclosure forms offer glimpse into Supreme Court's finances Disclosure forms offer glimpse into Supreme Court's finances Democratic challenger to Susan Collins announces Senate bid 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 HawleyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump and House Democrats resume battle The Hill's Morning Report - Trump and House Democrats resume battle Trump judicial nominee says he withdrew over 'gross mischaracterizations' of record 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 TrumpDC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' DC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' Mexico's immigration chief resigns amid US pressure over migrants MORE previously won Missouri by about 18 points over Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonYoung Turks founder says Democrats should avoid repeat of 2016 and pick a progressive Young Turks founder says Democrats should avoid repeat of 2016 and pick a progressive Trump highlights polls that showed Clinton beating him by double digits 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."