The Associated Press
Steve Holloway of Lincoln County, Mo., celebrates word that U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin won the GOP primary at a campaign party in St. Charles, Mo., on Tuesday.
The Associated Press
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Rep. Todd Akin, who played up his tea party credentials and conservative appeal, broke out from a three-way Missouri Republican primary on Tuesday to earn the right to take on Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, setting up one of the most closely watched Senate races of 2012.
Akin won a contest defined by which candidate was the most conservative. In doing so, he beat out Sarah Palin’s candidate of choice, former state treasurer Sarah Steelman, and John Brunner, a businessman who poured more than $7.5 million of his own money into the race.
Meanwhile in Michigan, Republicans selected former Rep. Pete Hoekstra to take on Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in November. Democratic Rep. John Conyers staved off a primary challenge in a slightly redrawn district to advance to November’s election, when he will be strongly favored to win a 25th consecutive term in Congress. Rep. Gary Peters defeated Rep. Hansen Clarke in a member versus member Democratic primary also brought on by congressional redistricting.
In another closely watched Missouri race, Rep. William Lacy Clay defeated Rep. Russ Carnahan in a showdown of two of Missouri’s most prominent Democratic families. The two were also drawn together because of congressional redistricting.
With primary elections being held in four states Tuesday, Missouri’s Republican Senate primary figured to have the most national significance: The GOP needs to net four seats from Democrats to gain control of the Senate and Republicans viewed McCaskill as among their top targets this year.
In a sign of the race to come, McCaskill released a statement within minutes of the race being called, labeling Akin as “extreme.”
“This election is now a clear choice, and it boils down to a very simple question: whose side are you on?” McCaskill said. “When Missourians have a chance
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