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7 Missouri counties considered key in US Senate race

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Republicans and Democrats are focusing on seven eastern Missouri counties that are considered pivotal in Missouri’s closely-watched U.S. Senate race.

Republican candidate Josh Hawley said this week (Monday) that Jefferson County is the key to his race against Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Jefferson County is full of independent-minded voters who tend to be conservative but are also receptive to Democrats’ support of unions and basic economic issues.

Jefferson and the six surrounding counties _ Washington, Franklin, Iron, Reynolds, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve and Shannon _ all voted for McCaskill in 2012 and she won all except Franklin in 2006.

While McCaskill won Jefferson County in 2010, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney also won there, and President Donald Trump took nearly two-thirds of the votes in 2016.