The two frontrunners in the Missouri U.S. Senate race are showcasing what they think are their strengths and their opponent’s weaknesses.

Attorney General and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Josh Hawley

Republican challenger and state Attorney General Josh Hawley and Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill have both been drumming home their platforms on the campaign trail lately

Hawley was a constructional law professor at the University of Missouri.  He also clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, an appointee of former Republican President George W. Bush.  Hawley is playing heavily on his conservative credentials while showing rock-solid support for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

“Oh, it’s a fantastic nomination,” said Hawley.  “But look, it’s so important because in this election our way of life is at stake.  “That’s why I’m running, that’s why I decided to run.  It’s what’s at stake in the United States Supreme Court, the key issues that matter to us, that affect our daily lives, religious liberty, the Second Amendment, immigration.  Are we going to be able to enforce our immigration laws?  Are we going to be able to secure our border?  All of those things are at stake in the United States Supreme Court.”

During an interview with Missourinet media partner KOLR-TV, Hawley zeroed in on a perceived weakness of McCaskill in a Republican-leaning state, her voting record on judges.

“She’s voted for judges who want to throw open our borders, judges who want the federal government to provide abortions to illegal immigrant teenagers, judges who want to take away Second Amendment rights.  Those aren’t Missouri’s values,” Hawley said.

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill (D)

McCaskill has been noncommittal about endorsing Kavanaugh but has been quick to point out that she’s voted for many of President Trump’s nominees.

“I have voted for almost eighty percent of President Trump’s nominees, so I am obviously willing to vote for one of President Trump’s nominees,” McCaskill.  “I voted for many of his cabinet members, but I make each decision on an individual basis.”

McCaskill has been careful to frame her examination of Trump’s nominee in a nonpartisan manner, knowing the President carried the state by 19 points in 2016.

“I’m going to be looking to see if he’s going to take the side of corporations or the little guy,” said McCaskill.  “I’m going to be looking to see if he’ll protect the protections we have against discrimination against people that have been skipped over in the Affordable Care Act.  I’m going to be looking at how he is treated First Amendment claims I’m very much supportive of the First Amendment.  So those are some of the things I’m going to take a look at.”

The two-term Senator has tried to paint Hawley as anti-health care, noting he joined 19 other attorneys’ general in a lawsuit claiming the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.  She says Republicans have no health care solutions.

“Well I’m very worried about how they are ignoring the health care crisis we have,” said McCaskill.  “You know, they promised repeal and replace, and they’re in charge of government.  They couldn’t even get enough Republican votes to repeal and certainly have nothing that they can use to replace the Affordable Care Act.”

During an interview with KOLR-TV, McCaskill said she’s been absorbing the frustrations over healthcare problems from her constituents and accused Republicans of neglecting the issue.

“I know health care costs after fifty town halls last year, Said McCaskill.  “I will tell you all across Missouri in places where I’m not very popular, I heard over and over again about pharmaceutical drug prices and health care costs.  I know how important it is that we get after those two topics.  And frankly, the Republican government right now, the leaders in the House and the Senate and even President Trump, is ignoring those problems.”

Hawley has tried to clarify his position on current healthcare protections, given his involvement in a lawsuit to overturn the existing law and his embrace of the Trump administration that recently dismissed consumer protections as no longer valid.

“I’m in favor of covering preexisting conditions, said Hawley.  “That should be a requirement.  I also think insurance companies should have to cover young adults on their parents’ insurance up to age twenty-six.  But I think we have got to pursue reforms that will bring down the cost of health care coverage.”

The first-term state attorney general has tried to hang the blame for rising healthcare cost on his opponent.

“Health care coverage premiums have gone up one-hundred-and-five percent in the last five years.  For families, they’ve gone up almost fifty percent.  And you know who’s responsible for that, Claire McCaskill.  She voted for these policies that have driven health care costs up.”

Hawley has publicly challenged McCaskill to have a debate over the Supreme Court nomination.  Recently, McCaskill has said she’s willing to participate in one.  She points to her many town hall meetings in rural Republican-leaning locations as an example of her willingness to mix it up with those who have opposing views.

Missourinet media partner KOLR-TV provided content for this story