Republican Josh Hawley joined by Trump for fundraising event Wed - KMOV.com

Republican Josh Hawley joined by Trump for fundraising event Wednesday

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Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley kicks off his campaign to win the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in Raytown, Mo. Hawley says he hopes President Donald Trump comes to Missouri often to support his campaign against Democratic Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley kicks off his campaign to win the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in Raytown, Mo. Hawley says he hopes President Donald Trump comes to Missouri often to support his campaign against Democratic

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV/AP) — Missouri Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley said Tuesday he hopes President Donald Trump will come to Missouri often to offer support and help raise funds for his campaign against Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill.

President Trump is scheduled to be in St. Louis Wednesday for an economic roundtable and a private fundraiser for Hawley at the Hilton Frontenac. Attendees who pay $50,000 per person will get a seat with the host committee, while others can pay $25,000 for VIP photo for a couple or $5,000 to get into the event, according to the invitation.

The kind of money Hawley needs for his campaign.

"Obviously he's got a fundraising gap he's got to make up with Claire (McCaskill). The Trump train is going to help him raise some of that and activate the base," said Ferguson Mayor James Knowles. "'I think Hawley, his internal numbers have to be telling him that statewide, which is what he's running, he sees this as a bigger help than a hurt."

During a rally in suburban Kansas City to officially kick off his campaign, Hawley conceded he could use the president's help raising funds for his race against McCaskill, although he said it will be his message, not money, that wins the race.

"When it comes to raising money, we'll never be able to surpass Claire McCaskill," Hawley said. "She has 36 years of special interest political chits that she has collected. ... So look, we're the underdogs in this campaign and we're glad to have the president's support. We're going to fight every way we can to raise the resources that we need."

Hawley then visited Springfield and made a final stop at Stemme Farms near St. Louis for his campaign kickoff. 

There Hawley said he doesn't pay attention to polls which have continued to flip-flop leaders of this Senate race. "We are the underdogs, we have the message and we have the people," said Hawley.

McCaskill, who Hawley lambasted as a career politician beholden to the liberal elite, Wall Street and Hollywood, is seen as one of the most vulnerable incumbents as a Democrat in a state won by Trump by nearly 20 percentage points in 2016.

When asked if he wanted the support of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, a fellow Republican who was indicted last month on a felony invasion-of-privacy charge, Hawley said he couldn't respond because his office has an active investigation into Greitens underway.

Hawley, who has been criticized for finding that Greitens' staff didn't violate open records laws by using the secretive messaging app Confide, said the case proved that the attorney general's office needs subpoenas, stiffer penalties and new tools to enforce the Sunshine Law. He said currently his office can only request interviews but if the person exerts executive privilege or says they aren't going to cooperate his office has no power to force the person to cooperate.

"We need to have that power," Hawley said.

McCaskill's campaign spokeswoman, Meira Bernstein, said in a statement Tuesday that Hawley has for the last year refused to investigate his friends and his biggest donor while "perpetuating the culture of corruption in Jefferson City by looking the other way and conducting sham investigations.

"In that same time, Claire McCaskill held over 50 town halls to listen directly to Missourians and took their ideas to the Senate to make real progress for our state," she said. "The contrast in this race is clear — Josh is busy looking past his present job except to protect his donors and friends. Claire won't let anything — or anyone — stop her from getting things done for Missourians."

A White House Official confirmed that Hawley will greet President Donald Trump in St. Louis prior to the President's visit to Boeing on Wednesday. The President will then attend a pricey fundraiser for Hawley in Frontenac.

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