JOPLIN, Mo. — Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill rallied party faithful Tuesday night in Joplin, urging them to press on in seemingly unlikely political battles.
Speaking at a fundraiser for the Southwest Missouri Democrats, McCaskill — who herself won what some considered an unlikely victory in 2012 over former U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-St. Louis — said Democrats fighting to win back seats in the Missouri General Assembly should not lose hope despite the uphill climb.
“If 2012 proved anything, it proved just because they say you can’t win doesn’t mean you can’t win,” McCaskill told about 80 residents who turned out for a meet and greet at Missouri Southern State University.
Democrats here on Tuesday night expressed a cautious hope for potential successes after an unsuccessful recent electoral history. In 2012, McCaskill lost in Jasper County by 16 percentage points and fared even worse in neighboring Newton County. Koster, a former Republican (now the likely Democratic nominee for governor in 2016) who touts “tough-on-crime” bona fides, did not fare any better. And President Barack Obama was easily defeated locally by Republican nominee Mitt Romney. It all begs the question: Do Democrats even have a shot in Joplin?
“There was a time that people didn’t think we could win any seats in Springfield, and there is still a time where people aren’t confident we can win seats in Jasper County,” McCaskill countered. “But these guys are driving so hard to the right that it does leave an opening for a moderate, somebody who understands that you’ve got to be reasonable. Some of these folks have never been challenged, so they think being as far right and extreme as they are is a political winner. I don’t think they realize how dangerous it is politically.”
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