Did Todd Akin just cost GOP a US Senate takeover? (+video)
With the uproar over his comment on 'legitimate rape,' Missouri Rep. Todd Akin has likely hurt his chances at beating Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) in November. Control of the Senate hangs in the balance – and Akin is resisting calls to exit the race.
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If Ms. Warren and Mr. King win their races, that raises the bar for the Republicans to take over five or six other seats. McCaskill’s is one they were counting on. In Nebraska, the seat currently held by retiring Sen. Ben Nelson (D) is a likely Republican takeover. In Wisconsin, moderate former Gov. Tommy Thompson’s primary victory last week positions the Republicans well to take over the seat of retiring Sen. Herb Kohl.Skip to next paragraph
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But the remaining Democratic-held tossup seats are harder to call. In Virginia, the race between two former governors – Tim Kaine (D) and George Allen (R) – is a dead heat. Also close is North Dakota, where a strong Democratic recruit – former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp – has made the race competitive against freshman Rep. Rick Berg, in a solidly Republican state.
In Democratic-leaning New Mexico, the race for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman pits Rep. Martin Heinrich (D) against former Rep. Heather Wilson (R). That’s another close one. Hawaii’s open Senate seat, currently held by retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka, should be easy for the Democrat – Rep. Mazie Hirono – in President Obama’s native state, but the Republicans’ recruitment of popular former Gov. Linda Lingle makes this race competitive.
The final tossup seat is in Montana, currently held by Sen. Jon Tester (D). He’s being challenged by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) in a race Cook Political Report says is likely to stay within the margin of error all the way to November.
If the Democrats win the Maine and Massachusetts seats, and hold onto the Hawaii, New Mexico, and Virginia seats (all states where President Obama is ahead) but lose the races in Wisconsin, Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota, then Missouri becomes the Republicans’ 50th seat. There are lots of other ways for the Republicans to get to 50 – or 51 – but by making Missouri more difficult, Akin has made a GOP Senate takeover a steeper climb.
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