Missouri Senate candidates to square off in first debate

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and her Republican challenger, Josh Hawley, will meet in their first debate-style matchup in a race that has major national implications.

The two candidates will appear Friday at a forum during the Missouri Press Association convention in suburban St. Louis.

It is one of the nation's most closely watched races and among a handful expected to decide which party controls the Senate, where Republicans hold a 51-49 advantage.

Hawley, the state's first-term attorney general, has the support of President Donald Trump. McCaskill is walking a tight rope in a state Trump won by 19 percentage points in 2016. She mostly touts herself as a moderate who supports the president when it benefits Missouri and opposes him when it does not.