WASHINGTON — Keeping control of the Senate seemed a Herculean task for Democrats just a few months ago. Now, the gaffe made this week by Todd Akin, the GOP Senate candidate in Missouri who initially asserted that women had biological defenses to prevent pregnancy from a “legitimate rape,” has given Democrats a burst of energy heading into the final months of the campaign.
“This is the Republicans’ worst nightmare. They were hoping to define the campaign as a discussion about jobs and the economy, and now it’s turned into a debate over abortion rights,” said Ken Warren, a political scientist at St. Louis University. “It hurts severely the Republicans’ chance of winning back the Senate.”