A political forecaster is not convinced Republicans will have a clean sweep of federal offices in Missouri next year, after dominating the 2016.
A recent poll by the GOP leaning Remington Research Group, as reported in the Kansas City Star, shows a three-point lead for Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley over incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill for her Senate seat.
None of the other announced Republicans in the field were included in the survey. There hasn’t been a lot of sampling of Missouri’s eight U.S. House races this far in advance of the 2018 elections.
Jack Cardetti of Tightline Strategies thinks there’s a potential for a Democrat to challenge GOP incumbent Ann Wagner in the 2nd Congressional District, which takes in a large part Democratic leaning St. Louis County.
“You’ll see you have multiple Democrats that are running for that seat this year, and feel good about the Democratic political environment, that maybe they’re running in the year where there is some wind at their back”, said Cardetti.
A Democrat hasn’t held the 2nd District seat since the early 1990’s. The national party has ignored the seat in recent years, but is focusing some energy on it for 2018.
There are four Democrats vying to run against Wagner next November. Attorney Cort VanOstran has raised far and away the most money of them at $225,567.95. Kelli Dunaway, who works at the Bryan Cave law firm has taken in $46,080.31. Educator William “Bill” Haas and Afghanistan war veteran Mark Osmack has accumulated between $25,000-and-$28,000 each.
Perhaps in anticipation of a well-financed Democratic challenge, Wagner has raised far more money than any other person running for any Missouri House seat in 2018, $1,839,599.06. Wagner has in excess of $3.3 million on hand.
Cardetti sees an opening for Democrats, noting that President Trump isn’t as popular as he was last November when he carried the state by 19 points.
“A lot of Missouri voters expected him to get rid of Obamacare”, Cardetti said. “The expected a large tax cut. They expected an infrastructure plan. All of these expectations, the reason they sent Donald Trump to Washington, have yet to come true.” The Remington Research Group poll showed Trump with a 48% approval rating, and a nearly equal 47% mark of disapproval.
Cardetti thinks Republicans have to deliver on some of their priorities, or they’ll be vulnerable next year, both nationally and in the Show-Me State.
“If they fail to be able to govern, fail to be able to get some of their priorities passed, they’re going to pay for it come next November. And it’ll be races like here in Missouri.”
Many political experts have acknowledged that Missouri is no longer the bellwether state it used to be because of its increasing tendency to favor Republicans. Cardetti says it could return to bellwether status if the GOP stays deadlocked on legislation.