Betty Anne McCaskill | Mo. senator's mother, 84

Posted: October 31, 2012

Betty Anne Ward McCaskill, 84, the mother of Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill and a political trailblazer in her own right, died Monday at her home in St. Louis after a long struggle with heart and kidney problems, the senator said.

The first-term Democratic senator, who is locked in a close re-election race with Republican Rep. Todd Akin, had canceled most of her campaign events starting last week to spend time with her mother.

Long before her daughter entered Missouri politics, Ms. McCaskill had made her own mark in Democratic circles. In 1970, she was appointed to the Missouri Commission on the Status of Women. The next year, she became the first women elected to the Columbia, Mo., City Council.

She ran unsuccessfully for the state House in 1978 against Republican Leroy Blunt, whose son Roy Blunt now serves as Missouri's other U.S. senator. In 2004, she helped her daughter's unsuccessful bid for governor by providing personal testimonies about the rising cost of medical care.

During her daughter's 2006 Senate campaign, Ms. McCaskill traveled around the state with her in an RV, appealing in particular to rural voters and seniors as she discussed the need to close coverage gaps in the Medicare prescription benefits. - AP

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