Missouri Republicans are coalescing around Attorney General Josh Hawley as their favored candidate to challenge veteran Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill in 2018, which would set up a marquee contest between a wily incumbent and an up-and-coming political newcomer in a state that's trending conservative.
McCaskill is among 10 Senate Democrats running in states won by President Donald Trump, making the Missouri race an opportunity to flip a Senate seat to Republicans. The GOP now has a narrow majority of 52 Senate seats.
Republican political strategist James Harris, who worked as a consultant with Hawley, says the 37-year-old attorney general would be a "perfect candidate."
But Hawley was just elected attorney general in 2016 and could come under attack for trying to hop from one political job to another.