Todd Akin vows to remain in Senate race despite GOP criticism of ‘legitimate rape’ comment

August 20, 2012

Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) has garnered national attention for saying during a local TV interview Sunday that “legitimate rape” cases rarely result in pregnancy.

The comment has raised criticism from within his own party, b ut despite calls for his resignation, Akin said Monday that he would not terminate his race for the Missouri Senate seat. The Fix’s Aaron Blake wrote:

Rep. Todd Akin said Monday that he will not give in to calls for him to end his Missouri Senate campaign after his controversial comments about “legitimate rape.”

“I’m not a quitter. My belief is we’re going to move this thing forward,” he said during an appearance Monday afternoon on Mike Huckabee’s radio show. “To quote my friend John Paul Jones, I’ve not yet begun to fight.”

As a result, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (R-Tex.) announced that the GOP would no longer provide funding to help Akin’s campaign. Aaron Blake wrote:

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (R-Tex.) informed Rep. Todd Akin on Monday that the national GOP will not spend money to help elect him to the Senate after Akin’s controversial comments about “legitimate rape,” according to an NRSC aide.

Cornyn also told Akin that, by staying in the race, he is endangering Republicans’ hopes of retaking the majority in the Senate, the aide said.

The Fix’s Sean Sullivan wrote that although Akin’s comments have distanced him from his party on a national level, he had struggled to build Republican support in Missouri prior to this incident:

While Republicans around the country are making it clear they do not agree with Akin, he also has to worry about a lack of support from Republicans in his own home state, many of whom did not share a warm relationship with the congressman, even before his Sunday comments. Akin did not have a reputation as a Republican who would go out of his way to help others in the party with fundraising or other structural support, Missouri Republicans say.

“Don’t expect Missouri Republicans to defend Akin,” said one Missouri-based GOP strategist granted anonymity to speak candidly about the situation. “Akin has never helped fellow Republicans so no one has any loyalty to him.”

“Does Akin have broad based support in the party? No he doesn’t,” added a second Republican operative with experience in Missouri politics.

... Akin’s tendency to step in hot water during media interviews means Republicans considering donating money to his campaign moving forward will think twice before writing him a check. And that does not bode well for his chances in November, which are quickly slipping away.

The Fix’s Aaron Blake wrote that the move could not come at a worse time for Republicans. Blake reports:

Akin, who won his primary two weeks ago with the help of ad spending from national Democrats who thought he would be the weakest GOP nominee, nonetheless starts the race as the favorite. And if he could just run a quiet campaign and simply be steady, he should be a senator come January.

But unfortunately for the GOP, Akin seems to suffer from a condition that afflicts many unsuccessful politicians: Saying what’s on his mind.

Akin has a knack for making news when he speaks, because he unapologetically expresses very conservative views on issues that most politicians won’t touch with a 10-foot poll (wanting to re-litigate civil rights laws, comparing federal student loans to stage 3 cancer and opposing federal funding for school lunches – and that’s just in the past few days). They may be his real views, but that doesn’t make them helpful.

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