Republican Senate Losses Reach Four Seats As McCaskill Beats Akin
The GOP’s Senate woes continue to add up tonight as Claire McCaskill has defeated Todd Akin in Missouri:
Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill defeated Republican Representative 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 Obamahas 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.
McCaskill should have lost tonight. However, since the GOP put forward such an absurd candidate, they have handed her a seat that three months ago few people in either party thought she would be able to retain and, in the process, done serious damage to their party’s power in the Senate.
There are still chances for the GOP to make up ground tonight. Deb Fischer should flip the Nebraska Senate seat, the GOP also has a good shot a picking up the Senate seats in Montana and North Dakota, and George Allen is doing surprisingly well against Tim Kaine in Virginia. Even if they won all four of those seats, though, they’d just end up where they were when this night started at with a 47 seat minority in a year when they were supposed to have been able to win a 51 or 52 seat majority. Given that the President looks well on the road to re-election, that is a tremendously big deal.