Akin Senate bid tests GOP strength in Missouri

August 25, 2012 - 2:40 PM

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — For most of a century, Missouri has been the nation's bellwether. Its residents have mirrored the country demographically, economically and politically — swinging between Democrats and Republicans while seldom out of step with the rest of population.

But Missouri's 2012 elections may end that if Republican Rep. Todd Akin — who offended millions of Americans with insensitive remarks about rape and pregnancy — can rebound to defeat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. An Akin victory could solidify Missouri as a Republican state.

Missouri already has been trending red. The Legislature now has one of its largest Republican majorities in state history. And in 2008, Missouri voters chose Republican John McCain over Democrat Barack Obama, failing for just the second time in a century to pick the winning presidential candidate.