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There is no clear favorite in the Republican race that will decide who will challenge Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) next year, according to a new poll of GOP primary voters.

In a five-way race, former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman and Rep. Todd Akin led the pack, with 27 percent and 23 percent, respectively. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) garnered 18 percent while attorney Ed Martin and businessman John Brunner got 6 percent and 4 percent, respectively. If Luetkemeyer’s name is not included in potential candidates, the race is essentially a dead heat with Akin getting 29 percent to Steelman’s 28 percent.

Steelman and Martin are the only announced candidates, but Akin is widely expected to enter the race. Luetkemeyer is not considered likely to run, and his office said the Congressman was “focused on serving the interests of the constituents of the 9th district.” Brunner, who has the ability to be at least a partial self-funder, told the Associated Press he was considering a run.

If Akin runs for Senate, Martin is likely to drop out of the race and run for Congress in Akin’s district.

Democrats spun the poll as good news. “Republicans are already having a hard time fielding strong candidates statewide and this is just further proof it’s going to be a long, uphill battle for anyone interested in this race,” Caitlin Legacki, the senior spokesperson for the Missouri Democratic Party, told Roll Call.

The automated poll of 400 Missouri Republican primary voters was conducted by the Democratic company Public Policy Polling. The poll’s margin of error was 4.9 points.

Roll Call Politics rates the Missouri Senate race a Tossup.

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