Outside groups ramp up presence in Missouri’s crucial US Senate contest

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley | Courtesy of MU School of Law

Missouri’s closely watched U.S. Senate contest may be 11 months away, but a flood of outside groups already are jumping in to aid or oppose Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill or her best-known GOP rival, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.

Most of these groups do not have to identify their donors or can delay that reporting until well into 2018. And many plan to concentrate their activities on social media platforms such as Facebook — not television.

“I really do think digital media is going to be a bigger component of campaigns going forward,’’ said Chris Hayden, communications director for Majority Forward, a new nonprofit that is promoting McCaskill – specifically the 50 town halls  she’s held so far.

State Treasurer Eric Schmitt has just been announced as the honorary chairman of one of the newest groups for Hawley, called Missouri Rising Action, which also plans to concentrate its campaign efforts on the internet.

Additionally, the deluge of outside money is expected to continue. The Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks political spending, has estimated that spending by outside groups for the 2018 election appears to be far outpacing their counterparts in 2016 — and that was a presidential election year.

Read more: St. Louis Public Radio

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