Senate Candidate Austin Petersen On Why The People Of Missouri Should Vote For Him, And Not Opponent Josh Hawley

Written by Frank Camp |


Two weeks ahead of Missouri’s Republican Senate primary on August 7, The Daily Wire was able to speak with candidate Austin Petersen one last time.

Petersen is running against Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who has the backing of high-profile Republican players including the President of the United States, who recently tweeted the following:

"Senator Claire McCaskill of the GREAT State of Missouri flew around in a luxurious private jet during her RV tour of the state. RV’s are not for her. People are really upset, so phony! Josh Hawley should win big, and has my full endorsement."

Hawley doesn’t simply have the backing of the president, he appears to have the backing of the Missouri state GOP as well. As The Daily Wire reported in early July, "the Missouri GOP executive committee decided to lift the rule prohibiting the Republican National Committee (RNC) from spending money on primary candidate Josh Hawley in the Missouri Senate election."

The following is The Daily Wire’s interview with Austin Petersen:

DW: What do you believe are your chances at winning this?

PETERSEN: I think I'm the only Republican Senate candidate other than Josh Hawley who has a chance in the primary. The next senator from Missouri will be one of three people – Claire McCaskill, Josh Hawley, or Austin Petersen. I believe very strongly that if I am the Republican Senate candidate, I have the best chance against Claire because in a Trump +19 state, I am the only Republican who beats her by 16 points. Josh Hawley is either within the margin of error or he's losing to her.

The President of the United States is here in my home town of Kansas City today. The vice president has been here twice. Frankly, I think they have better things to do than to come to Missouri to prop up a candidate who is polling so poorly against McCaskill.

One thing I want to remind everyone of is that the last time the president played in a Senate primary in a red state, Alabama elected a Democrat. Hawley threw our duly elected governor under the bus before due process could be afforded. If Hawley is the next senator from Missouri, I guess I have one piece of advice for the president – watch your back.

DW: We spoke about this before in our previous interview, but what is your opinion regarding the Missouri GOP allowing financing for Josh Hawley prior to the August 7th primary?

PETERSEN: I believe it's a complete and total disenfranchisement of the Missouri electorate. I think it sets a bad precedent, and it's very much the same thing that Hillary Clinton did to Bernie Sanders. These things can backfire spectacularly.

It's no secret here in Missouri that Josh Hawley has a big problem with the base, with the grassroots. There's no extra credit or makeup work that can be done in the next few months to make up for the fact that he has been a no-show on the campaign trail for the last year.

Right now, the grassroots of the Republican party in Missouri are not happy with the interference by the RNC.

DW: Why do you think, given your poll numbers against Claire McCaskill, that the GOP is so desperate that Hawley win over you?

PETERSEN: I don't believe there's a lot of difference at the top between the two establishments of the major parties. I think that the Republican party would rather make peace with Claire McCaskill than with a radical Republican such as myself, who would be a thorn in Mitch McConnell's side. I believe that they would rather lose with a person they can control than win with someone they cannot.

DW: If you win this primary, what is the next immediate step?

PETERSEN: Rush, capture key crossroads, ammo dumps, gather provisions, widen the supply lines to the front, flesh and blood we will have in abundance. It's sort of like the Soviet strategy from World War II mixed with Eisenhower's logistical skill. A massive army of grassroots door-knocking statewide, unifying the Republican Party in Missouri, electrifying the nation, winning the policy debate, winning the vote.

DW: Why should the people of Missouri vote for you?

PETERSEN: Because I'm honest. Because I have made sacrifices by being so brutally honest about my positions that I have taken the risk that I might lose some votes or offend some constituencies. Because I'm not sent to represent special interests or lobbyists. Because if I am the Republican nominee, my victory will be laid at the feet of the grassroots and the people of Missouri.

I have no strings attached. I will go to the bargaining table in Washington D.C. with the strongest hand that the people of Missouri could possibly have because I have pledged no allegiance to anyone other than the people of Missouri and to the principles of liberty.

If you want to see a conservative-libertarian alliance, my victory will be a major turning point. The intellectuals in the Party, the free-market economists, the true Edmund Burke conservatives will rise. Liberty republicans in the Senate like Rand Paul will be emboldened; Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee will have an ally. You'll have someone who will vote for term limits, someone who will vote against spending increases, someone who will vote for tax cuts, someone who believes in life. You'll have a true constitutional conservative – not a crony, not a tool of the special interests or the establishment, but a true constitutional conservative as a public servant to all the people of Missouri.

DW: Why should people not vote for Josh Hawley?

PETERSEN: It depends on your point of view, but I would say that if you are a Republican and you believe in a Second Amendment, the Attorney General [Josh Hawley] has come out in favor of gun control. He's come out in favor of gun control positions that technically put him to the left of the Obama administration.

If you're a moderate, if you are someone who is an independent, Josh Hawley was picked by the establishment of the Republican Party. He has advanced his career through special interests and a very tiny handful of elites who are propping him up for this run.

Hawley broke his promise to the people of Missouri that he would not run for higher office.

If you’re a Democrat on the other side of the aisle and you don't like Claire McCaskill, you should cross over and vote in the Republican primary for me because it's very likely that a Republican will win this fall, and if it's me versus Josh Hawley, I guarantee that the Democrats will like me better because of my positions on criminal justice reform, my positions on foreign policy, and my immigration policies, which are much more in line with the old American, Ellis Island style system.

I'm not beholden to the White House; I'm not beholden to a party; I'm beholden to all the voters of Missouri, and I would be a much better representative for those people than Josh Hawley.

DW: Lastly, I would just like to open up the floor. Is there anything you would like to say prior to this primary that you need to get out there?

PETERSEN: I estimate that around 35% of the people who will vote are undecided in this primary. Some of them are making a tough decision between myself and Attorney General Josh Hawley because we are the only two solvent campaigns, the only two campaigns that have money in the bank, that are not in massive debt.

If you look between the two choices, I hope that you will hear the whispers of a quote from one of my favorite characters in all of fiction, Albus Dumbledore, who said, "Dark times lie ahead of us, and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right." A vote for Austin Petersen is the right vote in Missouri.

Missouri’s Republican primary will be held on August 7.



This article was published on July 24, 2018 on the Daily Wire and was written by Frank Camp