Josh Hawley on Tuesday officially confirmed the worst-kept secret in Missouri politics: He’s running for the U.S. Senate.
Hawley, the state’s Republican attorney general — who has been spending money like a candidate, talking with national party officials since early summer and who formed an exploratory committee in August — released a video announcing his intent to seek the GOP nomination in the 2018 August primary.
In the video, he talks in general terms about issues on which he believes the status quo has failed, including jobs, taxes and health care costs.
Although several other Republicans are seeking the party’s nomination, Hawley, in the video, looks past them to directly take on Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who is seeking a third term on the November 2018 ballot.
Hawley has snagged the support of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP power players as a candidate who will embrace a traditional Republican agenda.
But Hawley has also convinced anti-establishment forces — led by former White House strategist Steve Bannon, who has declared war on McConnell and his allies — that he will be a conservative hardliner willing to buck the GOP leadership. Bannon’s support for Hawley became official on Sunday, when Breitbart, the hard-right news site Bannon runs, published its list of preferred Senate candidates.