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Catherine Hanaway predicts an even uglier McCaskill-Akin race

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Name: Catherine Hanaway

Party: Republican

Age: 48

Job: Attorney, Ashcroft, Hanaway LLC

Education:  Creighton University, Catholic University

Clout: Hanaway capped a six-year career in the Missouri House by serving as Speaker in 2003-2005 before her appointment as the U.S. Attorney in St. Louis (2005-2009). Now she’s a partner in the Kansas City-based law firm founded by former Attorney General John Ashcroft.  Their firm helps companies that do business with the government navigate the minefields of federal regulation in such areas as health care, financial services and defense. But she has kept her finger on the pulse of Missouri politics as a self-described “active volunteer.” She’s the Republican National Committeewoman for Missouri and plays an informal consulting role to GOP candidates. And she allows how she’d still consider another run for public office someday.  “I haven’t quite been cured of that bug yet, but it’s going to have to be the right time for our family.”

Current campaigns:  She chairs Ann Wagner’s campaign for the U.S. House (2nd District), although she’s quick to add that it’s largely a ceremonial post.

I know I’ve done a good job when ….: “As a lawyer, when your client looks at you and says: “That was clear!”; when whomever I am trying to persuade is persuaded but also thoroughly understands what I’m trying to articulate.” In politics: “When you win.  Those are the only good days.”

Beyond November:  “The biggest issue facing the country is going to be the amount of unfunded obligations, whether it’s the national debt, entitlement programs or pension liabilities to public workers.  It isn’t just that taxpayers can’t afford to pay but that people are counting on those promises and the money’s not going to be there to pay them.  There’s no way to grow or tax our way out of these problems.”

Biggest political disappointment: Her loss to Robin Carnahan in the Missouri Secretary of State’s race in 2004. But “God was looking out for me,” she added.  The loss propelled her into  the U.S. Attorney’s office and gave her more time with her family.

Political hero: Former Missouri Gov. and U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, with whom she got her political start as the senator’s district director in St. Louis.  “He is such a rare combination of someone who has an enormous intellect, who can do something about the biggest issues — while at the same time totally connecting with people and enjoying retail politics. He embraced the notion of being a workhorse, not a showhorse.”

Most important race: President. “I am genuinely worried about the future of the country. I think the choice between the path the current administration would continue down vs. the one Mitt. Romney would put us on is a very stark contrast.” Administration foot-dragging on regulations has frozen business activity, and international demonstrations on Sept. 11 were “a direct result of our failure to show resolve in the war on terror.”

Underrated race: Missouri Secretary of State. Two relatively unknown candidates would likely go in opposite directions on voter ID issues.

Overrated race: The widely anticipated 2016 Democratic primary for governor between Clint Zweifel and Chris Koster. “Missouri has definitely become a more Republican state, and I don’t think any Democrat can presume they’re going to win.”

Biggest primary surprise: That U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan chose not to run in the 2nd District and the margin by which Rep. Lacy Clay beat him in the 1st District.

Akin Prediction – “He will continue to run for the United States Senate, and that race is going to get very ugly after Sept. 25 (the last day Akin could take himself off the ballot).”We’re going to see a level of negativity from Sen. (Claire) McCaskill that will be unrivaled.  She’s going to close the deal.”