Missouri AG Josh Hawley launches exploratory committee for U.S. Senate race

Republican to challenge U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill

Missouri AG Josh Hawley launches...

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The committee name "Josh Hawley Senate Exploratory Committee" has been submitted to the Federal Election Commission.

ABC 17 News reported in early August when the Republican attorney general of Missouri announced his plan.

The new paperwork filed with the FEC shows that Hawley submitted his information on August 3. Campaign information shows that Salvatore Purpura will serve as the committee's treasurer. Purpura worked on Rick Perry's bid for president in 2012, as well as a super PAC established by comedian Stephen Colbert in 2011.

This campaign would challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill who has served since 2007.

Federal election records show McCaskill's campaign committee has $5.1 million on hand as of June 30.

Missouri Democratic Party communications director Meira Bernstein pointed out Hawley's use of both an out-of-state treasurer and bank. The filings show Purpura is based in North Carolina, while the campaign's bank is in a suburb of Washington, D.C.

"It seems Hawley is more interested in running to represent national Republicans than the people of Missouri," Bernstein said in an email to ABC 17 News.

McCaskill's campaign committee has a bank and treasuer based in Missouri, but also lists help out of the D.C.-area, as well.

State Republican Party spokeswoman Keelie Brown focused on their hope to beat McCaskill in the 2018 election.

"We are proud to have such a deep bench and encouraged that so many strong, principled conservatives are considering a run," Broom said. "Right now, we are focused on helping all of our prospective candidates by defining the opposition and making sure Missourians know just how out of touch Claire McCaskill actually is. We are confident that she can and will be defeated in 2018."

Austin Petersen has also filed paperwork with the FEC to run for Senate in Missouri as a Republican.

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