JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill has defeated GOP challenger Todd Akin to hold on to a Missouri Senate seat that Republicans once considered ripe for their taking.McCaskill’s victory Tuesday caps an unusual campaign that began with McCaskill declaring herself the underdog in a state that increasingly leaned Republican. But Akin damaged his chances shortly after winning the August primary, when he said in a TV interview that women’s bodies have ways of avoiding pregnancy in what he called “legitimate rape.”Akin apologized. But he refused calls from top Republicans to quit, and his campaign never fully recovered financially. McCaskill highlighted Akin’s remark in TV ads that portrayed him as an extremist.McCaskill is the first Democratic senator to win re-election in Missouri since Thomas Eagleton in 1980.