Springfield News-Leader: Cast as 'establishment' pick, Josh Hawley still faces competition for GOP Senate nomination

Not everyone is ready to rally around Josh Hawley’s still-tentative bid for the U.S. Senate.

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“I’m the outsider, I’m the underdog,” Petersen told the News-Leader on Wednesday.

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“They want Josh Hawley,” he said. “Why don’t we just cancel the primary? We could just let (Senate Republican leader) Mitch McConnell and (House Speaker) Paul Ryan and those guys pick the candidate.”

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Petersen said he could draw clear distinctions on major issues with Hawley, touting his support for decriminalizing prostitution and ending the war on drugs.

“When it comes to social issues, the government needs to stay out,” he said, calling himself a “liberty Republican” on such matters.

This article appeared in the Springfield News-Leader on August 16, 2017.