ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It was a race that drew national attention, less for debates over policy and more for the gaffes that accompanied it, and tonight it ended in the reelection of Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.
Heading into 2012, Republicans eyed McCaskill’s seat as a hotly-contested primary decided Rep. Todd Akin would be the one to face off against her.
But the Akin campaign endured numerous controversial moments, most notably surrounding the candidate’s August 19 comments on rape and pregnancy on KTVI-TV.
“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin said.
The comments drew the attention of national commentators, activists, and politicians. GOP Chair Reince Priebus, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and others within his own party called for Akin to step down ahead of a September deadline. When he refused, the Republican establishment instead cut most funding to the Akin campaign, putting him at a severe financial disadvantage against McCaskill.
While Akin was later able to draw the support of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, along with a large ad buy in the final weeks of the campaign, it proved too little too late for the former congressman.
McCaskill, a former Missouri auditor, was elected to her second term as the state’s senior senator.
The final Public Policy Poll, released Sunday, had McCaskill leading Akin by a 48-to-44 margin, with Libertarian Jonathan Dine at six percent, and two percent remaining undecided.