Hawley, McCaskill square off in first debate

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) -- Four Missouri Senate Candidates took part in a candidate's forum this afternoon in St. Louis, including Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley, Democratic Incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill, Green Party Candidate Jo Crain, and Independent Candidate Craig O'Dear.

But the forum quickly turned into the first debate between Hawley and McCaskill, as the first attacks against each other came just a few minutes in.

The candidates forum started by each candidate being asked whether or not they would vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

"Brett Kavanaugh is a pro-Constitution kind of judge," Hawley said. "He's the kind of judge that this state voted to put on the bench when we voted for Donald Trump in 2016."

Crain and O'Dear both said they'd vote no, but McCaskill was still non-committal, which Hawley criticized.

"With all of President Trump's nominees, I don't start with an automatic no. In fact, I have voted to confirm over two thirds of President Trump's nominees," McCaskill said. "But, I'm sure going to look at all the documents being hid from the public. I'm going to take the time to examine every single one of them."

McCaskill then targeted Hawley over the lawsuit he joined against the Affordable Care Act, which she claims would cause millions of people in Missouri with pre-existing conditions to lose health insurance.

"I'll tell you this. I will never support taking away health insurance coverage from people with pre-existing conditions," Hawley said. "The question is are we going to have to have Obamacare to do it, and are Missouri families forced to pay 145% premium increases in order to have pre-existing conditions coverage?"

Hawley also criticized McCaskill for not releasing her husband's tax returns, as he and his wife have released theirs.

"If you're not willing to criticize the President of the United States for not showing his tax returns, then why in the world do we think that it's appropriate to criticize my husband," McCaskill asked. "He's not even a candidate."

Five State Auditor candidates participated in their own forum Friday afternoon, you can find more in the related stories section of this article.