Dem Challenger Calls Sen. Hawley's Obsession With Masculinity Creepy

Lucas Kunce and Josh Hawley
Lucas Kunce and Josh Hawley

A Missouri Democrat announced Friday in a captivating campaign ad that he would run to take Republican Sen. Josh Hawley's U.S. Senate seat away from him in 2024.

Lucas Kunce hits Hawley for his record of running away from danger, selling Missouri for parts, and being super creepy about bedroom issues and masculinity.

The nearly two-and-a-half-minute-long video has been viewed more than 2.5 million times on Twitter and has gained tens of thousands of likes.

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Kunce spoke with The Advocate Friday, explaining his motivation to run against the right-wing Republican.

"The guy is obsessed with control," Kunce says. "He wants to control us in the bedroom. He wants to control us in the doctor's office. He wants to control the way we work. I mean, he's got a book coming out on masculinity where he wants to tell everyone exactly what it means to be a man, which I guess means being made in his image. It's weird, it's creepy, and it's gross, and I don't understand it."

Hawley's book, Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs, is set to be published in May.

"He hasn't had to be held accountable for being a coward and fraud. And I mean, this is the Show-Me State. He has shown us what he is," Kunce says. "And the thing is, he hasn't had to be held accountable in front of Missourians for that weird creepiness yet."

He adds, "And by the time I'm done with him, I'm telling you every single person in the state and the country is gonna know what a fraud, a coward, and a faker he is."

Kunce is no stranger to tough fights. The 13-year Marine veteran earned a bachelor's degree from Yale and two law degrees: a juris doctor from the University of Missouri and a master of laws from Columbia University. Beyond his education and military background, he notes that, unlike Hawley, he grew up in a household that struggled financially, even going bankrupt from medical bills.

Kunce ran for office last year, seeking the Democratic nomination for another Missouri U.S. Senate seat, but he came up short against beer heiress Trudy Busch Valentine, who subsequently lost to Republican Eric Schmitt, now newly sworn in to succeed Roy Blunt, who did not seek reelection.

Kunce has been a staunch ally of the LGBTQ+ community. More than one-third of his campaign staff in 2022 were LGBTQ+ people. In addition, Kunce's brother, Warren, is transgender and one of the politician's biggest supporters.

Kunce's announcement was strategically made on the anniversary of the January 6 insurrection.

Hawley famously raised a fist in support of the insurrectionists in advance of the Capitol's breach in 2021. Last summer, during a hearing by the House Select Committee on January 6, video evidence showed Hawley later running in fear through the corridors of Congress. The video was widely mocked online.

"He thought it was going to get him power; he's raising his fist and trying to be all fancy," Kunce says. "And the second things get real, he runs for the door."

Kunce continues, "I'm telling you right now, in Iraq and Afghanistan, if any of us Marines had run away from danger like that, we would have been court-martialed. Well, this is the opportunity for the people of Missouri to court-martial his ass and kick him out of office and say, 'You are not fit for duty because you're a fraud and a coward.'"

Prominent political insiders have praised the ad and Kunce's campaign.

Former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt encouraged people to donate to Kunce's campaign.

"I like @LucasKunceMO. He has integrity and guts. @HawleyMO is an entitled punk who betrayed his country. He is a snivelling coward and a disgrace to the great state that gave America Harry Truman. Send @LucasKunceMO $ for the fight ahead. He can win if he has the resources," he tweeted.

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Adam Kinzinger, the former Illinois congressman who was essentially ousted from his seat by fellow Republicans because of his participation in the bipartisan January 6 House Committee, simply wrote, "One of the best political ads I've seen."

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Editor's Note: This story was updated to include reaction to the Kunce ad from prominent political insiders.