President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Columbia Regional Airport, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump campaigns in Missouri in hopes of unseating McCaskill

November 01, 2018 - 8:35 pm

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — President Donald Trump implored voters to reject Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, telling a raucous crowd on Thursday that "she'll never vote with me."

Trump appeared at an airline hangar in Columbia as part of a massive campaign tour. He said McCaskill has "been saying nice things" about him, but he argued that she would not support his agenda. A check of her record, however, shows that she votes with the president about half the time.

Trump said McCaskill's Republican challenger Josh Hawley "will be a star."

It was Trump's second rally in an 11-stop, eight-state tour designed to boost Republican turnout. He will appear twice in Missouri, a state he won by nearly 19 percentage points.

McCaskill is among a number of vulnerable Democrats running in red states. She is a top target for Republicans seeking to expand the party's slim 51-49 edge in the U.S. Senate.

McCaskill is pitching herself as a moderate as she seeks to hold onto her seat. She has sought to distance herself from "crazy Democrats" and said in an appearance on Fox News that she supports Trump's efforts to secure the southern border. Hawley has dismissed her efforts and argues that she is not the right fit for an increasingly conservative state.

Two publications that track how senators vote with the president show that McCaskill votes nearly half the time with Trump, though she has not sided with him on many of his most important policy issues or Cabinet nominations.

The president has made his hard-line immigration policies the center of his closing argument, trying to raise anxiety about several caravans of Central American migrants traveling to the southern border and threatening to end the constitutionally enshrined right of birthright citizenship by executive order.

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