Posted: Nov 7, 2012 3:54 AM by Stacey Welsh
Updated: Nov 7, 2012 4:55 AM
ST. LOUIS - Incumbent U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) defeated Republican U.S. Representative Todd Akin by more than 15 percentage points after 9 p.m. Tuesday. Shortly after Akin conceded to McCaskill, she spoke to supporters, reporters and campaign staff at a watch party at The Chase Park Plaza hotel.
With family on stage beside her, McCaskill first thanked supporters and her staff just after 10 p.m. Along with a video tribute before her speech, McCaskill dedicated her victory to her late mother Betty Anne McCaskill. "There is one person missing from this stage tonight, and I've just got to tell you... Mom, this one's for you," McCaskill said in her speech. She also said she is thrilled to "finally [win] rural Missouri."
McCaskill has called herself an underdog throughout the campaign and said she proved everyone wrong who said she could not win the Senate seat.
Missouri House of Representatives Assistant Minority House Leader Tishaura Jones attended the watch party and believes McCaskill represents all of Missouri's interests. "Claire McCaskill has proven time and time again that being a moderate democrat is not a bad thing... She represents women, children, families, veterans, students, seniors. This is a great win for Missouri." Jones is also the treasurer elect for St. Louis.
Before McCaskill was declared the winner, supporters at the watch party echoed a question that has been in the national spotlight: What would the nation think of Missouri if Todd Akin is elected to the U.S. Senate? Following his controversial comments on rape and pregnancy, many supporters said the nation would be "sad" or "disappointed" if Akin won.
Supporters said the overall mood of the night went from optimistic to ecstatic. Staff even needed to turn up the volume on CNN election results when cheers became too loud.
In her victory speech, McCaskill said she is thankful for anyone who approached her to offer their support throughout the election season. "I had the incredible honor of meeting people that were perfect strangers to me that greeted me like long lost friends." McCaskill said she wants to continue to fight for these and all Missourians in Washington.