Congressman Todd Akin won the hotly contested Missouri Republican Senate primary on Tuesday, setting up a high profile race against endangered Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
Akin, a six-term congressman, defeated wealthy businessman John Brunner and former state treasurer Sarah Steelman in the race for the GOP nomination.
With 3,424 of 3,428 precincts reporting, Akin received 36.0 percent of the vote compared to 30.0 percent for Brunner and 29.2 percent for Steelman.
Akin benefited from strong support from evangelicals due in part to an early endorsement by 2008 presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
Brunner sought to capitalize on his experience as a businessman and job creator, while Steelman secured a late endorsement from former Vice Presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
However, pundits have suggested that ads from McCaskill painting Akin as too conservative for Missouri may have helped to push him over the top in the Republican primary.
With the general election now set, the race between Akin and McCaskill is expected to be closely watched due to its potential importance to Republican efforts to retake the Senate.
McCaskill, who was first elected to the Senate in 2006, is expected to face some backlash for her votes in favor of the healthcare reform bill and the economic stimulus plan.
The race is also expected to see an influx of cash from outside advocacy groups due to the seat's potential importance regarding control of the Senate.
Michigan voters also went to polls on Tuesday, with former Rep. Pete Hoekstra easily winning the Republican Senate primary. Hoekstra will face off against Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
by RTT Staff Writer
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