Missouri Rep. Todd Akin has won a close three-way GOP race to challenge Sen. Claire McCaskill in November, breaking Sarah Palin's winning endorsement streak in the process. All three contenders, including Palin-pick Sarah Steelman, had the backing of different Tea Party groups, and each claimed to be the most conservative. What made the difference in the narrow race appears to have been spending by McCaskill herself, who ran ads declaring Akin to be "too conservative," notes the Los Angeles Times.
McCaskill, one of the most endangered Democrats in the Senate, appears to believe that running against Akin gives her the best chance of keeping her seat—although polls showed all three Republican candidates well ahead of her. In Michigan, meanwhile, former Rep. Pete Hoekstra easily defeated a Tea Party-backed challenger to win the GOP nomination to take on Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow.