Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is arguably the luckiest incumbent running this year. She's a strong supporter of President Obama, and running for re-election in an increasingly conservative state, so Republicans were justifiably confident about grabbing back her seat in November.... until August. That's when Republican primary voters selected socially conservative Rep. Todd Akin over two better-known rivals. Then, two weeks later, Akin infamously told a local TV station that abortion shouldn't be legal in rape cases because the female body has mysterious powers to prevent pregnancy when it is "legitimate rape." Akin refused near-unanimous entreaties from Republican officials to bow out of the race, and McCaskill — a former prosecutor of, among other things, rape cases — has been a slight favorite ever since.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D)
Rep. Todd Akin (R)
Six-term U.S. congressman
Akin's "legitimate rape" comment and other verbal miscues (past and present) have, of course, played a prominent role in the campaign. As soon as the deadline passed for Akin to take his name off the ballot, McCaskill hit him with brutal ads featuring rape survivors. Other than that, the race has been pretty typical of close contests this year: Akin has been hammering McCaskill for her support of Obama and government in general, plus hitting her on $39 million in federal housing subsidies collected in the past five years by companies affiliated with McCaskill's husband. McCaskill has pointed to Akin's "extreme record" on Social Security and Medicare, education, and other issues. Parrying Akin's too-close-to-Obama charge, McCaskill says she goes her own way on some issues. "I don't even agree with my mother 98 percent of the time, much less the president of the United States," she said in their final debate on Oct. 18.
REAL CLEAR POLITICS POLL AVERAGE
McCaskill: 45.8 percent
Akin: 43.5 percent
(See the full data here.)
Claire McCaskill: "Prosecutor"
Todd Akin: "Broken Trust"
More races at a glance:
Massachusetts Senate: Scott Brown vs. Elizabeth Warren
Nebraska Senate: Deb Fischer vs. Bob Kerrey
North Dakota Senate: Rick Berg vs. Heidi Heitkamp
Connecticut Senate: Linda McMahon vs. Chris Murphy
Montana Senate: Jon Tester vs. Denny Rehberg
Virginia Senate: George Allen vs. Tim Kaine
Arizona Senate: Jeff Flake vs. Richard Carmona
Maine Senate: Angus King vs. Charlie Summers vs. Cynthia Dill
Pennsylvania Senate: Bob Casey vs. Tom Smith
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
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- 10 things you need to know today: October 31, 2014
- If Democrats abandon immigration reform after Tuesday's likely loss, they will turn 2016 into a debacle
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- What if Leo Strauss was right?
- Stop making fun of philosophy and read some philosophy
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Beware of Splenda: The backlash against artificial sugars
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The economics of Halloween: By the numbers
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