COLUMBIA - Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and Republican congressman Todd Akin are set to square off Friday for the first time in a debate before newspaper editors in Columbia.
The debate is part of the Missouri Press Association's annual conference.
Republicans have long looked at Missouri as one of the winnable states in the effort to gain control of the Senate.
The race changed in late August when Akin said in a TV interview that women were able to avoid becoming pregnant in cases of what he called "legitimate rape." He apologized the next day, but the comment prompted key Republican leaders, including presidential nominee Mitt Romney, to urge Akin to get out of the race.
Akin stayed in despite the loss of significant funding.