Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill defeated GOP challenger Todd Akin Tuesday to hold on to a Missouri Senate seat that Republicans once considered vulnerable.
McCaskill won with about 54-percent of the vote in the election. She told supporters in St. Louis' Central West End Tuesday night that the victory means more to her because many pundits had predicted she would lose her seat.
"They all said 'it's over, it's done, it's too red, it's just too red, there is no way that Claire McCaskill can survive.' Well, you know what happened? You proved 'em wrong," McCaskill said.
McCaskill told supporters that her landslide win does not mean she will only represent the interests of Democrats," McCaskill told supporters at the Chase Park Plaza.
Akin damaged his chances shortly after winning the August primary, when he said in a TV interview that women's bodies have ways of avoiding pregnancy in what he called "legitimate rape." Akin apologized. But he refused calls from top Republicans to quit, and his campaign never fully recovered financially.
Akin was forced to concede early early in the evening at his watch party in Chesterfield.
“Well things don’t always turn out the way you think they’re going to,” said Akin. “I just called Claire McCaskill and gave her congratulations, because the way the numbers are looking, we have lost this race.”
Throughout the campaign Akin never backed down from his convictions, even after it became apparent that he was likely headed toward defeat.
In conceding, Akin repeated themes warning against big government and Christian conservatism.
“We believe that life, liberty and pursuit of happiness come from almighty god, not an almighty government,” said Akin. “We also believe that our creator made us one people, there is one class in this country—Americans.”
Neither Akin, nor his staff addressed the media after his concession speech.
Some of Akin's supporters felt that their candidate was hamstrung by his own party after GOP funders dropped support for Akin in the wake of his controversial remarks.
"The Democrats would never throw their own under the bus and that’s what I feel happened in August," said Kimberly Benz of North St. Louis County.
- See the St. Louis Beacon's Jo Mannies' story on this race
- See more stories on issues and elections from St. Louis Public Radio, the St. Louis Beacon and Nine Network of Public Media at BeyondNovember.org.
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