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The campaign trail: On the road with Sen. Claire McCaskill

Posted: 10:52 PM, Oct 29, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-30 03:52:29Z

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With Election Day just over a week away, 41 Action News recently joined Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) on the campaign trail for an exclusive inside look at her battle to win re-election.

McCaskill finds herself close in the polls against Republican candidate Josh Hawley to hold on to the Senate seat she has held since 2007.

On Saturday, 41 Action News spoke with Sen. McCaskill on her campaign bus as she made her way to a rally in Kansas City.

“We are in this bus early until late,” she said. “There are snacks here and a microwave and there’s a bed in the back if we have a long time between stops.”

With other staffers on board, space inside of the bus can be tight at times.

While McCaskill and her team have attended numerous rallies and town halls over the past several months, time spent on the bus can also be a busy time.

“We’re trying to do the field program. We’re trying to make sure that all of the mail is going out,” the senator said. “There are long days but it’s incredibly exhilarating. The energy we feel on the ground, it’s different than I’ve ever seen before.”

During her time traveling across the state, McCaskill told 41 Action News that she will often check in with her family.

“The good news is that this is the first campaign when I have been able to FaceTime,” she said. “That wasn’t much of a thing in the last campaign.”

As a mother and grandmother, she said negative ads against her on the radio and television can be tough for them to hear at times.

“Depending on the age, they’ve turned off TVs in some households because of some of the ads so the grandkids don’t have to watch them,” the senator said. “We have a very close family and it’s hard on the whole family. I’ll be glad when this one is over. This one has been particularly tough.”

Each individual event McCaskill attends provides a chance to touch on a number of issues.

While the campaign can often be grinding, she said that each chance to reach out to voters provides a special opportunity.

“It’s really not a matter of preparing. It’s more of a matter that I keep my energy level high. Every stop expects you to be on and really enthusiastic,” she said. “I have to make sure about five minutes before we get to any stop that I kind of center myself and make sure I don’t shortchange this stop.”

One of McCaskill’s stops on Saturday included a meeting with members of Teamsters Local 41 members in Kansas City.

During a speech to voters, the senator voiced her support for union rights and increasing minimum wage.

With polls between McCaskill and Hawley continuing to be very tight, she knows this campaign could potentially be her last after more than 10 years on Capitol Hill.

“I’m not going to stay there like some of these people have. I seriously considered not running this time but circumstances came together that I thought it was the right thing to do,” she said. “I’m not going to say for sure right now but it would not be a shocking turn of events that this would be my last time running this gauntlet.”

With both President Trump campaigning for Hawley and former Vice President Joe Biden campaigning for McCaskill in Missouri this week, the senator knows the days ahead will be crucial in the race.

“It’s your closing argument. I’m an old prosecutor. I know how important closing arguments can be,” she said. “I think I’m keeping up a very heavy pace in this election and I feel great.”