FENTON, Mo. — As GOP Rep. Ann Wagner prepared to introduce candidates in a Republican Senate debate here Friday, she took a pointed jab at one contender who didn’t make it — front-runner Josh Hawley. “I try not to tell candidates how to run their races. I don’t know where some of the other candidates are,” she told POLITICO before taking the stage in a high school auditorium, referring specifically to Hawley. “Perhaps they have conflicts. But you gotta show up to win. And I’m going to tell that to the crowd tonight.”Story Continued Below Moments later, Wagner followed through, declaring to the raucous applause of Republican voters on hand that “showing up matters.” The scene encapsulated widespread concerns about Hawley. Star-struck Senate Republican leaders anointed the 38-year-old, Stanford- and Yale- educated state attorney general as their top recruit of 2018 — a squeaky-clean figure they saw as the future of the party and an ideal opponent to take on the endangered Democratic incumbent, Sen. Claire McCaskill. Yet as the campaign season kicks into high gear, many Republicans worry that Hawley — who openly admits he had no intention of running for Senate until he was pressured into it —… Read full this story
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