With campaign season coming to a close, Republican senate candidate Josh Hawley said he is traveling to every corner to the state to meet voters and shake their hands.

Hawley made a stop Friday night in Boonville at the Main Street Diner to do just that.

“We’re just going to every corner of the state,” Hawley said. “We want to try to shake every hand we can, talk to every voter that we can. … We’re trying to talk to every single person. … who are willing to come on a Friday night and to give to their time to talk to somebody, because they care about the future of our country. It’s tremendously encouraging.”

Hawley said that he would make a better senator than his opponent, Democrat incumbent Claire McCaskill, because she no longer represents the interests of Missouri voters.

“Senator McCaskill… I don’t have anything against her personally, I think she’s a good person, I respect her years of service, but the problem is she doesn’t represent the state anymore,” Hawley said. “Whether it’s a border wall and securing the border, which she is against, getting health care costs down, which she has failed to do, whether it’s putting pro-Constitution judges on the bench. … I think at a time when our way of life is under threat, the future of our country is at stake, we need some who is actually going to represent the state.”

Hawley said that he was proud to be endorsed by by various farm groups in Missouri, including the Missouri Farm Bureau.

He commended President Donald Trump for facilitating the new United States, Mexico and Canada Agreement to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. “I think for the president to get the new Mexico-Canada agreement (done), that’s a big deal in our state,” Hawley said. “Three-quarters of our or ag exports go to Mexico and Canada. So this is tremendous progress.”

Hawley acknowledged the U.S is currently in a trade war with China that is negatively impacting farmers and crop producers in Missouri. He reiterated that, if elected, he would help try to “win” the trade war. “My view is if we’re going to be in a war, then let’s win it,” Hawley said. “It didn’t just get started a year ago, they started it almost two decades ago.”

Hawley has been endorsed by Trump and was also at the Trump rally in Columbia last week. He said that despite support from the president, his loyalties remain firmly with Missouri voters.

“I support the president, because his policies work for Missouri,” Hawley said. “So, for me, it’s Missouri first, Missouri last, Missouri always. … We’ve got record job growth here, unemployment in the state is at its lowest level in decades, we’ve got wage growth at a 10-year high. That’s working well for the people of Missouri. That’s always going to be my test. My first and final loyalty is to them.”

Republican 48th District Missouri House Representative Dave Muntzel was also in attendance Friday to support Hawley. He said that he supports Hawley for his conservative values and contrasts to McCaskill.

“The main thing is his conservative views, common-sense ideas, and really almost on the other side of what Claire McCaskill represents,” Muntzel said. “We’ve been a little disappointed with her not following through with what she’s said. So, (Hawley) is kind of our answer to what she hasn’t done. … Hawley is a new-comer to politics versus Claire. I think it’s going to be an advantage to people once they see and hear him.”

Muntzel said he especially supports Hawley’s stances of lower taxes and helping support small business. He also said that he is in favor of Hawley’s and the president’s view on immigration.

“Last night he even spoke about, and I was really glad to hear him say that we’ve got a problem with this immigration thing,” Muntzel said. “Especially what’s going on in the southern part of the state now. … We’ve got to stop that to protect, not only the citizens of Missouri, but the ones all in the United States.”

Muntzel said that though national races are running close, he is confident that Republicans will win in the U.S. Senate and in the Missouri state and local races.

“We don’t take anything for granted,” Muntzel said. “One concern, on the national level, is that (Democrats) are going to take over the House. Personally, I know it’s going to be a tight race, but we’re going to come out on top. ...With the Senate, I think we’re going to gain seats there. On the local level, here in the state, we’re going to do very well.”

Janet Harris was one of the supporters to come out Friday to meet Hawley. She said that Hawley aligns better with her own principles than McCaskill.

“I came out to support Josh, because I think he would make the better senator,” Harris said. “I’m not fond of Claire McCaskill. I think she votes against my principles and Josh Hawley aligns better with those principles.”

Harris said that she hopes Hawley will help stop illegal immigration into the U.S. “I hope that he supports conservative judges for the Supreme Court,” she said. “I also hope that he supports doing something about the immigration policies and the illegals that are coming into our country.”

She said that despite large amounts of support for both Democrats and Republicans in this year’s election, conservatives would do well because of strong leadership from the president.

“I’m very hopeful,” Harris said. “The leadership from the top is very strong. … Just watching President Trump and his way of governing is inspiring for people.”

ecliburn@moberlymonitor.com