SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Democrat Claire McCaskill, a U.S. Senator from Missouri, is considered very vulnerable this year in what has become a very red state. When Missouri voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, the republican took 56 percent of the vote. However, numbers from the primary election Tuesday show the state's democrats are more mobilized now than they were two years ago.
"The number of people who came out to vote in the democratic primary was about 90 percent more than it was just two years ago," said Dr. Dan Ponder, a Meador professor of political science at Drury University.
That huge jump in the number of democrats voting this primary as compared with the last U.S. Senate primary indicates to Ponder the incumbent senator may still have a chance.
The number of republicans who voted statewide on Tuesday in contrast stayed about the same as 2016. Even so, democrats remain outnumbered statewide.
McCaskill will be facing a Josh Hawley, the current attorney general for Missouri. The 38-year-old is considered by some as a rising star in the republican party.
"He's already won a statewide election, so he already has very high name recognition. He was able to win handily," Ponder said.
Ponder said it will be quite the task for McCaskill to hold onto her seat for a third term, and the democrat will need the help of independents and maybe even some disaffected republicans to do it.
One of McCaskill's first campaign stops was in Springfield Wednesday.
"Even though she is likely to lose here in Springfield and Greene County, if she can increase turnout the democratic vote and certainly either win--Jay Nixon showed a democrat can win in Greene County--If she can win hear or minimize the percentage by which she loses, then she can have a shot to retain the seat," Ponder said.
As for political ads already running, Ponder said there will be many of them in the coming weeks as campaign dollars pour into the state. He said the ads are not necessarily designed to win over voters as much as they are trying to get voters to doubt their chosen candidate and possibly not vote at all.