The first Democrat hoping to unseat Sen. Josh Hawley in 2024 has already come forward, launching his campaign on January 6, 2021, the anniversary of the Missouri Republican’s infamous actions on that day.
Lucas Kuns, who lost to Beers successor Trudy Bush Valentine in last year’s Democratic Senate primary, is returning to challenge Hawley in 2024, he told HuffPost on Friday.
“He never had to run around with all his stuff,” said Koons, a Marine veteran and former arms-control negotiator with NATO. “It’s ‘Show Me State’.” You have to show people what you stand for. This man has shown everyone that he is a coward and a fake.
Koons’ launch video relied heavily on Hawley’s pre-riot salute and footage uncovered by the House January 6 committee, which showed the senator running away from the crowd inside the Capitol. Later that day, Hawley objected to certifying the election results in the Senate. He later wrote in an op-ed that his objection was designed encourage debate about election integrity,
Kuns has an extremely difficult path to victory against Hawley, who unseated Democrat Claire McCaskill in 2018. Hawley is one of the few Republicans up for reelection in a cycle when national Democrats will focus resources on defending seats in Arizona and Nevada. Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. But Hawley is so polarizing that Democrats will follow him regardless of race.
A spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate’s campaign arm, dismissed Koons’ challenge.
“The ultra-liberal Lucas Koons will borrow millions from the coastal elite, then lose. Just like when he ran last election,” NRSC communications director Mike Berg told HuffPost in a statement. A spokeswoman for Hawley did not offer any comment.
Koons lost the primary by 5 points, but managed to raise nearly $6 million from a strong national grassroots base. Yet he lost to the heir to the Anheuser-Busch brewery, who loaned millions from his fortune to his campaign. Busch Valentine lost the general election to Republican Eric Schmidt in a state that Trump had won by double digits two years earlier.
That doesn’t bode well for Koons, who hopes that his path to victory is in endorsing a populist message and highlighting Hawley’s positions on January 6, gender roles and other issues.
“He’s just done creepy things, like writing books telling everyone how to be a man, and if you don’t do what he says you’re not a man. So we’re going to hold him up for all of that.” are,” Koons said. “He’s obsessed with what everyone else is doing in their bedroom, at work, on the Internet, at the doctor’s office.”
Koons said that despite losing his previous primary, it helped lay the groundwork for another campaign, mostly in the form of a deep online donor base.
“We worked very hard, and you’re probably not going to win the first time,” Koons said. “When I came into this I had no family money, no connections. I wasn’t a banker’s son like Josh Hawley. And so for me, we had to figure out how to create a real grassroots movement. And that’s what we finally did in the end.
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