Claire McCaskill remains on the ropes, despite few challengers

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill can breath a sigh of relief with news that Missouri Republican Rep. Jo Ann Emerson has ruled out a challenge. But Republicans continue to target McCaskill as a vulnerable Democratic incumbent.

Emerson released a statement Tuesday announcing her decision. “I decided the best possible way to serve Southern Missouri — as well as the entire state — is from my current post,” Emerson said.

The Hill reports that former Missouri Republican Reps. Sam Graves and Jim Talent have already ruled out a challenge to McCaskill, leaving the Republican field without a prominent leader.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee released a statement Tuesday attacking McCaskill for a budget-reduction measure to shrink the “paperclip supply” in the Senate.

“Once again, liberal U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is attempting to distract voters from her support for billions of dollars in reckless spending and debt by introducing a minor, symbolic cost-saving measure aimed at aiding her uphill reelection bid,” said the NRSC.

McCaskill’s proposals include having congressional offices return 10 percent of their office funds.

“We now pay more in interest on the debt every hour, than would be saved per year if every one of Senator McCaskill’s proposals were passed into law today” said NRSC spokesman Chris Bond.

A poll released in December by Public Policy Polling found that McCaskill faced difficult prospects for re-election in 2012.

The results found that McCaskill lead former Republican state Treasurer Sarah Steelman by only 1 percent. The majority of respondents were unfamiliar with Steelman.