Missouri's Senate race is one of the races to watch this election cycle. Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, is up for re-election, running for her third term, and the general consensus is that she is vulnerable. Her last election, in 2012, was a close race, but in the end McCaskill won by a significant margin, largely thanks to a severe case of foot-in-mouth disease
by Republican candidate Todd Akin.
But this is 2018, and the political winds have shifted in America. The big question in Missouri is, which candidate has the best chance to beat McCaskill?
The GOP establishment has made its voice very clear. They have backed Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who was elected as AG in 2016. He has served just over a year of his four-year term, and now has chosen to run for the U.S. Senate. But there is a big problem with Hawley's approach, which severely affects his popularity: During his campaign for Attorney General, he talked a lot about how sick Missourians were of "ladder climbing" politicians using the Attorney General's office as a stepping-stone to higher office.
The Missouri Democrat Party has already made their campaign ad, using Hawley's own words:
And besides ads wherein the Attorney General runs for office against himself, Hawley's candidacy, short though it's been, has not been without controversy.
Shortly after announcing his candidacy, Hawley very publicly
launched an investigation into Google, raising questions as to whether the action amounted to him is using his position as Attorney General to bolster his campaign bona fides.
A couple of months later, he gained national attention
when he blamed sex trafficking - a practice that has existed worldwide for centuries - on the American sexual revolution of the 1960s.
And most recently, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has filed for a restraining order against Hawley,
alleging that Hawley's very public editorializing about allegations of misconduct against Greitens have compromised Hawley's investigation into Greitens's alleged misconduct.
You can only imagine what a Hawley candidacy is going to look like once the primaries are over and the Democrats put their full energy into campaigning against him.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with another Republican candidate - a man whose career I have followed for several years now, and someone who I believe offers voters a better option than another swampy GOP establishment politician. I was hoping to post the full interview here, but after a few scheduling conflicts, we ended up speaking on Friday the 13th. Let's just say that the technology behaved accordingly, and I wasn't able to record our conversation.
Austin Petersen entered the political arena working as an associate producer of Judge Andrew Napolitano's show Freedom Watch
on the FOX Business network. He has also worked for the Libertarian National Committee and FreedomWorks. He ran for president as a Libertarian in 2016, but when considering a run for the Senate, after making a few thousand phone calls to supporters last year, he decided to change his party affiliation and run as a Republican.
During his Senate campaign, Petersen has been making waves. He received 30-day bans from Facebook twice, both in reaction to his campaign raffling off AR-15 rifles. This was highly questionable behavior coming from Facebook, as other organizations have posted about similar raffles on the site without being banned. It's also notable that Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's COO, made the maximum legal donation to Claire McCaskill's campaign.
Now, you might wonder why anyone cares whether a Senate candidate gets banned from Facebook for 30 days...well, Austin Petersen isn't your typical candidate. He has huge grassroots followings on Facebook and Twitter, which have helped to get the word out about his campaign to the people of Missouri. And that grassroots following is one of the keys to his campaign. Petersen has been traveling all across the state of Missouri, meeting with Republican voters, talking to them about what he believes and why, and asking for their votes. While he doesn't have the most money in the race, he has more individual donors than the rest of the Republican field combined.
I think that Petersen could best be described as a "conservatarian," that is, a libertarian with conservative leanings, or vice versa. One of the first statements he made that caught my attention was, "I believe in a world where gay married couples are free to protect their marijuana fields with fully automatic machine guns." The basic premise of his platform is that government has grown too large and needs to be scaled back so that Americans can have more freedom. He is pro-life, pro-Constitution, and pro-Liberty. His spin on Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan: Make Taxation Theft Again.
He opposes the War on Drugs. The reasons he gives for this are primarily about freedom and the Constitution: the Constitution doesn't grant authority to the federal government to ban any drugs. The War on Drugs has grown the police state in America, and led to the unnecessary prosecution of hundreds of Americans.
Police have better things to do than get themselves shot over an ounce of marijuana.
On gun control, he has advocated for conservatives to take the offensive. Instead of debating with the Left over what infringements we should allow on our 2nd Amendment rights, we should be pushing to roll back the infringements that are already in place - such as repealing the National Firearms Act, and more:
And the main thing: like in the days of Calvin Coolidge, we need to get the government out of the way and get America back to business again. Petersen was the first candidate
in the Missouri Senate race to sign a pledge to not vote for measures that would increase government spending, and to only vote for budgets with a path to balance.
I don't want this to sound too much like a campaign ad, and if it does, I apologize. But I strongly believe that Austin Petersen is the kind of person we need in the Senate. Not because he's a Republican, but because he will stand up and fight for our freedom - something far too few in government are willing to do. I believe that so strongly that, even though I can't vote for him from here in California, I've donated more to his campaign than I have to any political campaign, ever.
But, as always, do your own research. Check him out. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter @AP4Liberty, or at AustinPetersen.com.
If you like what you see, send a few bucks his way. If you don't, then don't. But if you love liberty, I think you'll like Austin Petersen.