Dem senator: I may face 2018 primary from Tea Party-esque progressives

Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillOPINION | Tax reform, not Trump-McConnell feuds, will make 2018 a win for GOP Chris Murphy blasts Trump for ‘attacking Democrats’ while hurricane ravages Texas Author Trump promoted charges liberals are ‘politicizing’ hurricane MORE (D-Mo.) on Thursday compared a faction of Democrats calling for their party to become increasingly progressive to the Tea Party movement that grew out of Republicans’ opposition to President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaTrump defends pardoning former Sheriff Arpaio OPINION: Trump, strike a deal: Trade border wall funding for DACA protections Rand Paul slams Trump reversal on military gear for local police MORE.

That wing of the party, McCaskill said on “The Mark Reardon Show” in St. Louis, could offer up a primary challenger to take on the two-term senator when she runs for reelection next year.

"I’m for sure going to run," McCaskill said. "And I may have a primary because there is, in our party now, some of the same kind of enthusiasm at the base that the Republican Party had with the Tea Party.”

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“Many of those people are very impatient with me because they don't think I'm pure. For example, they think I should be voting against all of Trump's nominees and of course I'm judging each nominee on its own merit," she said.

McCaskill is among a group of Democrats, including Sens. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOPINION | On immigration, Mr. President, pick a fight — and win it 7 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2018 Senate GOP campaign arm launches ads targeting Dems MORE (N.D.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOfficials worry as Trump delays picking DHS chief OPINION | On immigration, Mr. President, pick a fight — and win it 7 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2018 MORE (W.Va.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyOPINION | On immigration, Mr. President, pick a fight — and win it Republicans hire mariachi band to welcome Dem senator 7 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2018 MORE (Ind.), who face reelection next year in red states that voted overwhelmingly for President Trump in the 2016 election.

In her Thursday interview, McCaskill took aim at her own party, saying that the Democrats haven’t listened to the concerns of voters “that fundamentally think Washington, D.C., is not paying any attention to their needs.”

More ideologically stringent party members have pushed Senate Democrats to reject Trump’s Cabinet nominees and Supreme Court pick on the spot, McCaskill said. Among the 13 Cabinet picks that have been confirmed so far, McCaskill has voted in favor of seven and against five. She said she hadn’t yet decided how she will vote on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

"As of today it's about half and half of the ones I've voted no on and the ones I've voted yes on and I'm making an individual decision based on merit on each one," McCaskill said. "That's not good enough for some of these folks who want me to be just against Trump everywhere.”