Democrat Claire McCaskill has successfully defended her U.S. Senate seat against GOP challenger Todd Akin in a race that received national attention because of Akin's comments on pregnancy and rape.

With 77 percent of precincts reporting, had 1,030,581 votes for 53 percent of the vote total, compared to Akin's 781,182 votes and 40 percent. Libertarian Party candidate Jonathan Dine had 120,969 votes and 6 percent.

McCaskill had not been expected to win a second term, but Akin came under attack after saying in a local news interview that women have biological ways to avoid pregnancy after a "legitimate rape."

McCaskill, who was elected to the Senate in 2006, was expected to have a tough re-election bid against Akin, a six-term congressman.

McCaskill was trailing Akin in the polls until Akin’s comments on rape turned the race on its head and prompted conservative groups including Crossroads GPS, a nonprofit founded by Karl Rove, to pull money out of the race.