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Missouri senator Claire McCaskill has long seemed like a goner: Missouri is getting redder all the time and even McCaskill's brand of centrist liberalism is just too far to the left for her to win reelection. But last night brought her some good news: the winner of the Republican primary was the wingnuttiest of the three wingnuts in the race. Steve Benen summarizes:
Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) was running third in the three-way primary up until fairly recently, but McCaskill started running ads intended to boost the right-wing congressman with the GOP base in advance of his Senate primary. As the dust settled last night, the scheme worked surprisingly well: Akin won a surprise victory, winning by six points over his next closest challenger.
....What is it, exactly, about Akin that makes him so unappealing to the voting mainstream? The congressman believes the very existence of the federal student-loan program is a "stage-three cancer of socialism." He's also eager to eliminate the minimum wage, believes liberalism is based on "a hatred of God," believes the Bible should be a "blueprint" for American government; and wants to impeach President Obama because, in his mind, the president is "a complete menace to our civilization."
Akin also has a highly attackable voting record, which Greg Sargent documents here.
In the last election cycle, the tea party nearly kept the GOP from winning control of the Senate by nominating unelectable ideologues like Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, and Christine O'Donnell. They might be doing the same thing this year. Every seat is likely to count, and McCaskill was probably a sure loser against anyone relatively normal. But she has a chance to beat Akin. Three cheers for the tea party!
UPDATE: Andy Kroll has a great review of the Missouri Senate race today and the role that tidal waves of secret money are playing in it. "Dark Money's Top Target," it turns out, is Claire McCaskill.