Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) announced Monday that she would not run for governor in 2016 and instead is “very likely” to seek re-election to the Senate in 2018.
The decision ends months of speculation in which McCaskill was said to be strongly considering running for governor. During a Monday interview with Missouri’s KCUR, McCaskill said she decided to run for re-election rather than run to succeed the term-limited Gov. Jay Nixon (D).
“I am convinced where I can have the biggest impact is to remain in the United States Senate,” McCaskill said. McCaskill said it was a “firm no.”
“This isn’t about whether I can win or lose, this is about where I can make the biggest contribution,” McCaskill said.
McCaskill seemed to be gearing up for a gubernatorial run in Republican-leaning Missouri by drawing attention to whenever she bucked the Democratic Party. In November she opposed Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) for minority leader in the 114th Congress.
In that same vein, also in November, she also said that she was “not crazy” about President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration during an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Now, McCaskill said, she will have more influence as a more senior and moderate Democrat.
“I now have significant seniority. I am now a part of a much smaller group, holding down the middle,” McCaskill said on Monday. “The moderates that are able to talk to the extremes and say ‘hey, we’ve gotta get some compromise done for Missourians and for Americans. We can’t just keep playing politics.'”
McCaskill’s decision means Democrats will likely rally behind Attorney General Chris Koster, who’s been nurturing a significant war chest. Koster has also been dogged by a New York Times story about attorney generals’ questionable ties to lobbyists.
McCaskill described Koster as a “terrific candidate that is ready to run for governor and will be a great governor.”
This post has been updated.