3) The material it gives to Republicans: It is very early in the cycle. Still, McCaskill has provided Republican ad makers with a trove of quotes and images that can be juxtaposed with previous statements she has made about responsible government. Also, her GOP opponents, who are likely to face a bang-up primary battle of their own, have been using the news to raise money and build their campaign coffers.
"It makes fair game all the unsavory things about all the offshore tax shelters she started in order to avoid paying the same amount in taxes the rest of us do," said longtime Missouri GOP strategist Gregg Keller, who was recently named executive director of the American Conservative Union.
Democratic strategist Mary Anne Marsh concurred: "If ever there was a textbook oppo hit job it is the one on Claire McCaskill right now."
4) The overall Senate map: The Senate map is daunting for Democrats in 2012. Democrats (and independents who caucus with the party) currently hold a 53-47 advantage in the Senate. Democrats have 23 seats up in 2012 compared to just 10 for the GOP. Missouri could be the fourth Democratic-held seat Republicans need to pick up, with Nebraska, North Dakota, and (to a lesser extent) Montana already looking like favorable opportunities.
A presidential election in 2012 also complicates matter for Democrats. Despite his landslide win, Obama lost Missouri and the state has been trending towards Republicans in recent elections. McCaskill needs to run a flawless campaign to counteract those trends, and this was the last thing she needed heading into a tough re-election campaign.