Claire McCaskill keeps seat in Senate - KCTV5

Claire McCaskill keeps seat in Senate

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One of the hotly contested races in Missouri was called pretty early Tuesday night and Claire McCaskill kept her spot in the Senate, defeating Republican Todd Aiken.

Some Missouri voters started out early Tuesday and others were punching ballots as the polls closed. But it wasn't long after that the Missouri U.S. Senate race was called surprisingly soon.

"Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome the current and next senator from the great state of Missouri - Claire McCaskill and her husband Joseph Shepard," sounded the announcement over the speakers at McCaskill's St. Louis watch party.

McCaskill made her victory speech before St. Louis County or Kansas City metro counties were counted.

"I find it a bit strange, but there are stranger things in politics," said Patrick Green, the mayor of Normandy, MO.

A rare show of emotion from behind-the-scenes staffers and a touching tribute to McCaskill's mom - Betty Anne, who passed away just last week - made the Missouri U.S. Senate race a storybook ending for the Democratic Party.

"Twelve months ago no one gave Claire McCaskill a chance in the Senate Missouri. This Senate race had been written off by national pundits, by local pundits," said Missouri Democratic Party Chair Mike Sanders.

Republicans poured record amounts of money into Todd Akin's race, hoping to win a seat closer to gaining Senate majority, but his opponent still out-spent him and, in the end, out-did him.

"To all the votes I didn't get today, here's my message to them. I go to Washington first as a Missourian. I go first as a Missourian and I will continue to be a senator that works across the aisle in a bipartisan way to find the compromises to solve problems for every Missouri family, not just the families that voted for me," McCaskill said during her victory speech.

One interesting aspect of the outcome of this race was that Libertarian candidate Jonathan Dine got 6.1 percent of the vote when third party candidates usually pull in 1 to 2 percent. Sanders called it a protest vote from Republicans.

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