(CNN) - Two of the top non-partisan political handicappers are altering their ratings of the U.S. Senate race in Missouri following a massive controversy surrounding the Republican challenger, Rep. Todd Akin.
The Cook Political Report Tuesday moved their ranking of the contest from "toss up" to "likely Democrat" and the Rothenberg Political Report from "toss-up/tilt Republican" to pure "toss up."
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The six term congressman kicked off a firestorm Sunday when he said in a TV interview that a woman's body is capable of preventing pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape."
Akin, who won a tough primary battle earlier this month, has apologized for his comments, but he's vowing to stay in the race, regardless of massive pressure from top Republicans to bow out of the contest.
The race in Missouri is crucial to GOP hopes of winning back the Senate, and national Republicans are targeting incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, who faces a difficult re-election to a second term. The Democrats currently have a 53-47 majority in the chamber, but are defending 23 (21 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party) of the 33 seats up for grabs in November.
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