PoliticsMidterm Elections


Fact-Checking The Debate In Missouri's Senate Race

Claire McCaskill and Josh Hawley each made some inaccurate claims during a recent debate in their race for the senate.
Posted at 11:35 AM, Oct 26, 2018

It's down to the wire in the state of Missouri, where Democrat Claire McCaskill is trying to cling to her Senate seat. That's likely produced some sleepless nights, because Republican state attorney general Josh Hawley is giving her a tough fight. He's barely beating her in the polls.

During a debate in St. Louis earlier this month, each candidate made some claims that need fact-checking. We'll look at a couple. 

First, there's this from McCaskill:

"Wages are stagnant. In fact, wages are 1.8 percent lower in this country than they were a year ago," she said.

Not according to the government. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data showing wages increased in the first three quarters of 2018. McCaskill seems to be referencing a number from the PayScale Index, which is a private firm with now-outdated information. Other Democrats have pushed that number, too, as a rebuke of the Republican-backed tax cuts. But, experts say, it's a statistical outlier. The BLS numbers likely give us a more accurate picture of what wages are doing.

Then there's this from Hawley about Senator McCaskill:

"She voted no on the tax cut. She wants to reverse it and raise your taxes, raise middle-class taxes," he said. 

McCaskill did, in fact, oppose that tax cut package. She said she did that because it disproportionately benefited wealthy folks. She has not called for a full repeal or raising taxes on the middle class. In fact, she's said she wants to keep intact the parts of the tax cut law that help middle-class families. 

Getting the facts straight will be hugely important for Missouri voters. That race is a tight one and a key one. It could easily go either way in a Senate with a slim Republican majority.