Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin resisted calls to withdraw from the race Monday over his controversial comments on rape, despite mounting pressure from GOP leaders who roundly condemned his remarks and threatened to cut off funding.
“I am in this race to win. We need a conservative Senate,” Akin tweeted Monday afternoon, as he solicited new donations. He also told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on his radio show that “we’re going to stay in.”
The tweet followed scattered and unconfirmed reports that Akin was moving to withdraw from the race. Akin, though, rejected those claims publicly even as Republican leaders leaned on him hard to reconsider his bid for Senate.
A source within the National Republican Senatorial Committee told Fox News that Sen. John Cornyn, head of the Senate GOP campaign arm, already has told Akin that if he stays in the race, the $5 million set aside for the Missouri race will be withdrawn. Cornyn, according to the source, told him the party is concerned his presence in the race could imperil Republicans’ chances of winning the Senate majority.
Akin, a six-term GOP congressman, is challenging Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill for her seat. His chances looked fairly sunny — up until he told an interviewer that a woman’s body can typically prevent pregnancy during a “legitimate rape,” as he argued against allowing abortions in cases of rape, claiming such pregnancies are uncommon in the first place.
“I’m not a quitter. My belief is we’re going to move this thing forward,” he said. “To quote my friend John Paul Jones, I’ve not yet begun to fight.”
Cornyn said in a statement released after Akin’s interview: “I recognize that this is a difficult time for him, but over the next 24 hours, Congressman Akin should carefully consider what is best for him, his family, the Republican Party, and the values that he cares about and has fought for throughout his career in public service.”
The NRSC and Crossroads were primed to spend more money on Akin’s race than the candidate himself was likely to spend.
The NRSC has reserved $5 million worth of time in Missouri, and Crossroads has spent more than $5 million this cycle.
The lack of funding from outside groups would severely hamper Akin, who has not been able to raise much money early in the campaign.
Akin quoted “his friend”, John Paul Jones – “I’ve not yet begun to fight.” Well, I’m going to quote my friend, Kenny Rogers, who said, “Know when to fold them.”
There was no excuse – no excuse at all for what Todd Akin said. He displayed his woeful ignorance of a highly sensitive, but well navigated issue. Every conservative Republican should know that they are going to get the “what about rape or incest” abortion question. It’s not a “gotcha” because it’s so expected. There are right ways to answer it, and there are profoundly wrong ways, and Todd Akin very aptly demonstrated the latter. “Legitimate” and “rape” are two words that should never be used together, and the idea that women who are raped don’t get pregnant because their bodies shut down has no basis in science. In fact, the data very clearly shows otherwise, as virtually everyone but apparently Todd Akin realizes.
As Michelle Malkin pointed out:
I don’t know what kind of biology classes Akin took, but rape-related pregnancies occur with significant frequency. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
And here is something the feminists who are making great hay of Akin’s remarks won’t tell you: There is most likely significant undercounting of those rape-related pregnancy figures, given what we know about Planned Parenthood’s cover up of child rape and child sexual abuse and what we know from the invaluable investigative work of Lila Grace Rose and Live Action into Planned Parenthood’s advice to young clients to hide statutory rape cases.
I’m sorry, Akin defenders –We can’t have Republicans running for high office who are this “not ready for prime time.” Republicans don’t get the Biden treatment — “Oh that’s just Todd Akin, being Todd Akin!”
No. We get Democrats running his stupid remark on an endless loop until election day – and not just against Todd Akin, but against every other Republican running for office, including the two standard bearers. And as David Harsanyi notes in Human Events, Claire McCaskill will be able to run ad after ad quoting GOP lawmakers calling on Akin to leave the race. If we lose the Senate over it, that means at least two more years of Dingy Harry Reid as the Senate Majority Leader. Think about that.
If he wants to put his love of the country above his own aspirations, Todd Akin must withdraw.
1. Voluntarily, by 5 p.m. on the 11th Tuesday before the election. That deadline is tomorrow.
2. Akin can withdraw by court order, which “shall be freely given” unless the election authority opposes the request and shows good cause. That deadline is the sixth Tuesday before the election, Sept. 25th. Akin would have to pay any costs for reprinting ballots.
The Republican state committee would pick a replacement.
Both of the congressman’s Republican primary opponents have been active since the controversy erupted. Former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman posted a denunciation in a tweet (“Todd Akin’s remarks about ‘legitimate rape’ were inexcusable, insulting and embarrassing to the GOP”). And businessman John Brunnerhas been making exploratory phone calls, according to a GOP strategist in Missouri.
UPDATE 5 p.m. EST: A long-time Missouri GOP insider tells Human Events that Akin is planning a prayer vigil for Monday night and meeting with his staff as he searches for a more graceful way to step out of the race. The source believes that Akin is coming to terms with his limited options and the prospect of the beleaguered candidate staying in the race past tomorrow is unlikely.
What happens if he steps aside? John Gizzi explores the options.
Legitimately? RT @RameshPonnuru: Akin's on Piers Morgan tonight. What could go wrong?—
(@EdMorrissey) August 20, 2012