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McCaskill Gets Primary Challenger

Former Obamacare marketplace worker running to Missouri Democrat’s left

Missouri Senate candidate Angelica Earl says Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill is too conservative on issues such as health care. (
Missouri Senate candidate Angelica Earl says Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill is too conservative on issues such as health care. (

A former health care marketplace worker is challenging Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill for the Democratic nomination in 2018, calling the incumbent “too conservative.”

Angelica Earl, a political novice, said she rejects McCaskill’s push for a bipartisan solution to health care. The 31-year-old from St. Louis County said she supports “single-payer health care for all,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Recently laid off from a job as a verification specialist for insurance applicants, Earl is the first Democrat to challenge the two-term senator.

There are several Republicans who have declared or are considering a run. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley formed an exploratory committee after receiving the backing of several Republican donors and encouragement from party leaders. And state Rep. Paul Curtman is also considering running after Rep. Ann Wagner, the onetime front-runner for the GOP nomination, announced last month she would be seeking re-election to her House seat.

In an introductory campaign video, posted in June, Earl said marijuana prohibition needs to be ended to fight opioid abuse. She also called for an end to lobbying, term limits, and the overturning of the Supreme Court’s 2011 Citizens United decision, which removed many restrictions on campaign spending.

“We have a corrupt government and we have to get those corrupt politicians out of there,” Earl said in the video.

On her website, the Missouri Democrat asks for donations to help her travel across the state. She is using Crowdpac, a nonpartisan and free technology platform, to organize and collect contributions. Similar to other crowdsourcing platforms, Crowdpac lists the number of donors and tracks how close a person is to reaching their goal. As of Thursday afternoon, her Crowdpac page reported $117 in funds raised from six donors out of a $5,000 goal.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the Missouri Senate race a Toss-Up. The National Republican Senatorial Committee released a new radio ad Thursday hitting McCaskill, saying she would “rather cozy up to radical liberals in Washington than make America great again.”

The ad is aimed at rural voters to coincide with the senator’s August recess town hall tour, which also targets the same voters.

In a statement to the Post-Dispatch, the Missouri Democratic Party called the NRSC ad “just smoke and mirrors from national Republicans.” McCaskill noted in a statement announcing her town hall schedule that she “was raised in rural Missouri,” the newspaper reported.

The NRSC said Earl’s challenge “makes things tricky for McCaskill, who thus far has avoided embracing a single-payer health care system.”

Claire McCaskill is stuck between a rock and a hard place,” NRSC spokesman Michael McAdams said in an email. “McCaskill can’t afford losing her base, but the alternative of embracing a $32 trillion government-run health care system would be political suicide.”

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