Embattled Republican Congressman Todd Akin vowed Tuesday to stay in the race for one of Missouri's two Senate seats despite a chorus of criticism from colleagues over his recent comments about rape.
Akin, who is opposing incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill's, issued a statement Tuesday afternoon pledging to stay in the race.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has withdrawn its support for Akin - despite the party's desperate attempt to win control of the Senate in November, with McCaskill considered highly vulnerable - and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus has publicly called on Akin not to attend next week's GOP convention in Florida.
Akin made his defiant vow on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's radio program, saying he believed he represented grassroots conservative voters.
"There is a cause here," Akin said. "There is a part of the message that's missing and a lot of people feel left out of the parties."
Akin has been reeling since he gave an interview in which he referred to "legitimate rape" and said the bodies of women can resist pregnancy in such cases.
He apologized immediately, even releasing a TV ad on Monday with another apology, but national GOP leaders have been distancing themselves from the six-term congressman ever since.
On Tuesday, five past and present GOP senators from Missouri issued a statement adding their voices to those calling on Akin to withdraw from the race. The list included current Sen. Roy Blunt along with retired Sen. Kit Bond and former Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Akin would be required to obtain a court order and pay for ballot reprinting costs if he stays in the race past 6 p.m. tonight.
by RTT Staff Writer
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