SPRINGFIELD, Mo.—The contentious U.S. Senate race in Missouri came to a disappointing end Tuesday for Republicans gathered the Greene County Election Night party in southern Missouri. GOP candidate Todd Akin lost to Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill 54 percent to 40 percent, with the majority of precincts reporting. The mood for the conservatives in attendance soured from there, as the presidential race was called for Barack Obama. “I wanted a butt-whippin’,” lamented Bernadette Losh, 41. “I am so disappointed.”
Sixtysomething Michael Schoeller, when asked why he supported embattled Todd Akin after Akin’s unfortunate remarks about rape became a national focus, explained, “Akin may say stupid things, but McCaskill votes stupid things.” But Jeff Kessinger, a younger man who voted Republican except for McCaskill, disagreed, saying, “I have two daughters. It’s important to me that the impact of rape is not minimized.”
Woops and hollers finally came at the news of locally won races for conservatives, including a victory for Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Billy Long, and when Missouri was called for Gov. Mitt Romney. But as the night wore on, more groans were heard when states were repeatedly called for Obama.
As the last of the watchers shuffled out, small business owner Terry Kelley, 49, said he had a sinking feeling in his gut: “This feels like 9/11 to me. It’s the same way I felt then.”