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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley has been at the forefront of trying to get Republicans to change their message after they had a weaker than expected outcome in the 2022 elections.

“Are we going to be a party that protects families and puts 100,000 new cops on the street and gets crime down or not?” Hawley said in an interview with FOX4 Thursday. “I mean, what are we doing here? And so that’s my pitch.”

Hawley said the Republican party needs to be pro-working class, saying the Senate did not do enough to develop a plan in 2022. He thinks that’s part of the reason Democrats will have a 51-49 majority come 2023. Currently, there’s a 50-50 tie with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaking vote. 

“I think people want to see an agenda,” Hawley continued. “I think they want to see some results. I think they want to see a plan of action. It’s not enough to say, ‘Joe Biden’s no good.'”

But political science professor Matt Harris speculated why Hawley has been at the forefront of a change in messaging.

“I think the GOP has to decide like, ‘Is this the party of Trump?'” Harris told FOX4 Thursday.

Harris said nominating candidates with no political experience doesn’t always work. It did, though, for Republicans in 2016 when Donald Trump was elected President.

“Herschel Walker is a terrible candidate. Dr. Oz is a terrible candidate. Blake Masters is a bad candidate,” Harris said of the GOP’s 2022 U.S. Senate crop.

He also thinks Hawley is in an interesting position, trying to center the party around more of the working class. 

“He still doesn’t necessarily want to fully turn on Trump because of the hold that Trump has over a good chunk of the electorate in the GOP,” Harris said. “So I think you see a lot of GOP figures kind of trying to straddle that line a little bit.”  

Hawley’s also been rumored to be interested in a higher elected office in the future. His U.S. Senate term is up in 2024, and he said he’s running for reelection.

“It is not my plan to run for President,” he said Thursday. “I hope that this next year, or I guess in two years, but in just over a year, that the people of Missouri will consider letting me continue to serve them. It’s been an incredible privilege, and it’s my hope that they consider giving me another shot at it.”

Hawley said he also doesn’t think he would be former President Trump’s vice-presidential pick if he wins the nomination in 2024. 

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