In the closely followed Missouri Senate race, Claire McCaskill has defeated her Republican challenger, Todd Akin, and will keep her U.S. Senate seat.
Todd Akin gained national fame in August when he said in a television interview that “legitimate rape” rarely results in pregnancy. Following his remarks, many in the Republican Party urged Akin to drop out of the race, including Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Massachusetts Republican senatorial candidate Scott Brown, and pundit Sean Hannity. Others, including former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, encouraged continuing Republican support of Akin so that Republicans could gain a majority in the senate.
The remarks may have given McCaskill the push she needed to secure her win on Election Day. McCaskill authorized television campaign ads which used Akin’s remark to portray him as an extremist.
Akin’s hardline stance on abortion was further illuminated when it was revealed that he had been arrested eight times during anti-abortion protests. Other concerning statements made by Akin surfaced during the campaign as well, including a 2011 statement he made in an interview that “at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God.”
Despite the controversy surrounding his candidacy, Akin received last minute support from the Missouri Republican Party. In the final days of his campaign, $700,000 was spent on TV ads in an attempt to defeat Sen. McCaskill. The origin of that money remains unclear.
McCaskill is a proponent of abortion rights and is the first female senator of Missouri. Her win is a victory for feminists and pro-choice activists nationwide.