Josh Hawley, the Republican attorney general for Missouri, has defeated incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill for the U.S. Senate. Hawley is a conservative evangelical beloved by the religious right for his staunch opposition to abortion and LGBTQ rights. As a professor of law at the University of Missouri, he accepted money from the anti-LGBTQ Alliance Defending Freedom. Speaking before a conservative Christian group earlier this year, he blamed sex trafficking on the “sexual revolution” and said the proper place for sex was “within marriage.”
During the campaign, Hawley got into trouble by announcing an appearance with David Barton, a religious right “historian” who advocates for theocracy in America. After an outcry, Hawley canceled his appearance and improbably proclaimed ignorance of Barton’s bigotry, which in evangelical circles is a feature, not a bug.
McCaskill had an uphill battle in a conservative state. She won re-election in 2012 thanks to a clownish opponent, Todd Akin, who said women who are victims of “legitimate rape” couldn’t become pregnant.
Hawley was much more polished than Akin, although there’s little daylight between the policies Akin would have pursued and what Hawley will promote in the Senate. Hawley’s election just adds one more confirmed anti-LGBTQ Senator to the body’s ranks.