On August 7th, Missouri voters will select their nominees in primary elections for the Senate. Republicans are looking to defeat Democrat incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill.
In a state that Donald Trump won by nearly twenty points, McCaskill faces an uphill battle for reelection. Republican front runner, Josh Hawley, has a slight advantage over the Democrat Senator. Hawley’s been endorsed by President Trump, Mike Pence, and Mitch McConnell. Given the state’s overwhelming support for Donald Trump in 2016, these endorsements could carry some weight for the citizens of Missouri. However, a blind allegiance to “Trumpism” and potential RINOS (Republicans in name only) could be disastrous for the Grand Old Party.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Austin Petersen, one of the Republican frontrunners in the Missouri Senate race, about his candidacy and why right-leaning voters should favor him to challenge McCaskill in the fall. Petersen, an astute, well-rounded candidate, elaborated on his political career, why he’s running for office, and what advice he has for conservative youth.
Petersen told me he first became active as a creative consultant for the Ron Paul 2008 presidential campaign. He soon discovered that he had a knack for coalition-building around themes consistent with his principles. Austin believes his unique background allows him to think outside the box and generate interest from millennials who otherwise might not be aligned with the conservative movement.
He strongly advocates for economic freedom, open markets, and encourages the younger generation to be educated on critical issues. When I asked Petersen about the younger generation, he said, “I can’t tell you how many young people I’ve saved from the depths of Democratic Socialism until they found out that there was an alternative on the right that could appeal to their interests.”
Austin is also a Second Amendment warrior. He says that he is “totally opposed to any new gun-control regulations” and that “we need to play offense, not defense” when it comes to defending our constitutional rights. Petersen told me that his Republican adversary, Hawley, expressed a willingness to ban firearm accessories through an Executive Order. This train of thought stands in direct opposition to the Separation of Powers that American Government was founded upon.
He is also sick and tired of wasteful government spending. The giant omnibus bill, passed earlier this year, was a blow to the philosophy of limited government. “The thing that bothered me was that he [Attorney General Hawley] refused to say whether or not he would’ve voted for it.” Peterson points out the complications that occur when Republicans don’t stand or vote for true conservative ideals.
There is a sharp contrast between certain positions held by the respective candidates. The Missouri electorate would be well-advised to study the viewpoints held by both. While Peterson may lag slightly in the polls, his expansion of the Republican party is noteworthy and will greatly benefit the GOP come November.