By Kevin Murphy
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Nov 6 Missouri Republican U.S.
Senate candidate Todd Akin, who sparked a furor in August with
comments about "legitimate rape," was defeated by Democratic
incumbent Claire McCaskill on Tuesday.
Until the rape comment, Akin was considered the favorite to
beat McCaskill in a state that has trended Republican and voted
for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday.
But the race reversed course after Akin's comment to a
television station that women have natural defenses against
pregnancy from "legitimate rape." The comment drew scorn from
state and national Republican leaders who called on him to drop
out of the race.
Akin apologized for his remarks but refused to withdraw. He
regained support of some top Republicans but lost significant
"There is something close to a consensus that he did himself
in," said John Petrocik, a political science professor at the
University of Missouri. "She was one of the most vulnerable
McCaskill had drawn heat for failing to pay taxes on a
private family plane, which did not sit well with state
residents, Petrocik said.
People interviewed at St. Louis-area polling stations on
Tuesday said Akin's rape comments were important to their vote.
"Seeing Akin's attitude toward woman in general, voting for
him would be impossible," said Mary Mitchell Bartley, a St.
Louis historic neighborhood preservationist who had backed
previous Republican candidates.
Akin's loss was another blow to Republicans, who had hoped
to make a net gain of four U.S. Senate seats to take the
majority in the upper chamber.