Last minute campaigning in the Missouri U.S. Senate race has hit overdrive.
Both Incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican challenger Josh Hawley are getting support from national politicians. Former Vice President Joe Biden appeared at a union shop near St. Louis Wednesday where he staged an upbeat rally for McCaskill.
President Trump will make an airport stop near mid-Missouri’s Columbia Thursday to drum up his base to vote for Republicans such as Hawley. Trump will also close out his campaigning for the 2018 mid-terms with a last-minute stop at 9 p.m. Monday night in southeast Missouri’s Cape Girardeau.
The 11th hour Presidential appearance in the state reflects the intensity of one of the most closely watched battles in the election cycle as the tight contest could tip the scales of power in the U.S. Senate.
The analysis site FiveThirtyEight only gives Democrats a 16 percent shot at taking back the upper chamber, but energy and money have poured into several tight Senate races across the country.
Outside spending in the Missouri Senate contest has now topped $70 million according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Hawley often rails against the dark money being spent by a Super PAC associated with Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, but the Super PAC aligned with Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has chipped in the most cash, almost $20 million. The Schumer affiliated Senate Majority PAC is second at $17.7 million.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is third at $5.2 million followed by two Democratic-leaning organizations; Women Vote – $4.4 million and Priorities USA – $3.9 million. The biggest chunk of money for or against a candidate is being spent to oppose McCaskill – $38 million.
Only Florida, a much larger state with more large media markets, has seen more outside money injected into its Senate race – $73 million. More outside money has been funneled into the Missouri and Florida Senate contests than any other race across the country in the midterm elections.
In a rare less contentious moment on the stump, Hawley praised McCaskill for her public service before returning to his usual talking points. “You know Senator McCaskill, I think she’s a good person,” said Hawley. “I respect her years of service, 36 years of service to this state and this country. I thank her for that. But she just doesn’t represent this state anymore.”
The Real Clear Politics average of polls gives Hawley a 2 point lead with five days left before the election. The latest poll released Wednesday night by FOX News showed a dead heat at 45% each.