McCaskill defeats Republican Akin to keep Missouri Senate seat

Posted: November 6, 2012 at 9:27 p.m.

Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill defeated Republican Rep. Todd Akin to win a second U.S. Senate term.

The race was turned upside down Aug. 19 when Akin, 65, said in a television interview that “legitimate rape” rarely results in pregnancy. The remark prompted party officials, including Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, to urge the six-term congressman to leave the race. It was a political gift to McCaskill, 59, who had been trailing Akin in polls.

The Senate contest in Missouri, a Republican-leaning state where President Barack Obama has low approval ratings, had been viewed as one of Republicans’ best opportunities to capture one of four seats they need to win a Senate majority. McCaskill had been rated as one of the most vulnerable Democrats seeking re- election this year.

Following Akin’s comments, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Crossroads GPS, a nonprofit group co-founded by former Bush political adviser Karl Rove, said they wouldn’t spend money on the race.

Akin apologized for his comments, though he refused to leave the race. He later won the backing of some in the party’s small-government wing, including Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and former presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

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