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McCaskill reports $5.8 million raised in Akin contest

U.S. Senate candidates for Missouri Todd Akin (R) and Senator Claire McCaskill debate in Columbia, Missouri, September 21, 2012. REUTERS/Sar
U.S. Senate candidates for Missouri Todd Akin (R) and Senator Claire McCaskill debate in Columbia, Missouri, September 21, 2012. REUTERS/Sar

By Kevin Murphy

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - Senator Claire McCaskill, whose Missouri re-election campaign has attracted national attention since her Republican challenger made controversial remarks about rape, said on Wednesday she raised $5.8 million in the last quarter.

McCaskill, once seen as one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents, announced the figure on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon - twelve days before required - and wrote, "Thank you to thousands!"

In August, Akin, a six-term congressman, created an uproar for saying that women have a biological defense against pregnancies from "legitimate rape."

Akin was subsequently shunned by senior Republicans who urged him to quit the race, but he refused to back out.

Missouri is a key target for Republicans who need a net gain of four seats in November's election to win a Senate majority.

Akin has not released his fund-raising figures, but said recently he has received contributions from people across America. Last month, he announced he had won the support of a conservative group that pledged over $290,000 to his campaign.

The National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee and some other GOP groups have endorsed his candidacy in a race that could decide control of the Senate.

McCaskill did not release any information Wednesday on the sources of her contributions and how much may have come from pro-choice or other groups that support women's rights.

Two recent polls show McCaskill leading Akin.

The Republican-leaning automated pollster Rasmussen Reports had McCaskill with 51 percent, Akin with 46 percent and 4 percent undecided or favoring other candidates. Public Policy Polling, favored by Democrats, had McCaskill at 46 percent, Akin 40 percent and Libertarian Jonathan Dine 9 percent.

(Editing by Edith Honan and Todd Eastham)

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