Todd Akin Declares He’s Staying Put
Missouri Rep. Todd Akin (R) affirmed today that he is staying in the race against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill despite repeated pleas to step aside from Republicans who believe he is unelectable.
“We are going to be here through the November election and we are going to be here to win,” Akin told reporters at a press conference today in St. Louis County, Mo. Akin said he was not party to any negotiations about leaving the race.
In very brief remarks before taking five questions from reporters, Akin sought to pivot to the economy, saying he and McCaskill have two different visions for America.
“The America that I represent is an America that has more freedom and more jobs,” he said.
“I may not be the favorite candidate of some people within the Republican establishment,” Akin said before noting that the voters chose him in the Missouri Senate primary.
A Republican strategist responded to that line of reasoning earlier in the week, saying he thought there was no way Akin would have prevailed in the GOP primary had he made his now-famous remarks about lessened pregnancy risks stemming from “legitimate rape” before the three-way contest.
Before the news conference, Akin sent out a fundraising appeal touting the continued endorsement of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Huckabee is scheduled to speak Monday evening at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
“The party bosses and Washington insiders are threatening to pull their financial support for our campaign, which means we need your help more than ever. Every dollar helps, so whether you can give $3 or $300, I would ask you to consider doing so now,” Akin wrote in his email to supporters.
Akin’s campaign also changed the background image of the campaign’s Facebook page to a graphic that reads: “We proved the party bosses wrong.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has pledged not to provide any funds for Akin’s campaign efforts and national Republicans, led by presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), have said Akin should step aside for the good of the party.
McConnell and other Senate Republicans want a replacement candidate who they think would have a better chance of unseating McCaskill. The race is one of the keys to the GOP effort to take control of the Senate, which would make McConnell the Majority Leader.
Akin disputes the contention of senior Republican strategists who say that there is no path to victory for him after his comments about “legitimate rape,” which aired on a St. Louis television program on Sunday.
Akin’s own fundraising will be hard pressed to catch up with the lost money from national Republicans. The campaign is aiming to raising $212,000 by the end of the tonight.
He has, however, maintained support from some influential social conservatives, including Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.
Akin reportedly met with members of a group known as the Council for National Policy in Tampa, Fla., to gauge ongoing support for his candidacy with his anti-abortion base.
Akin’s comments and actions this afternoon suggest he heard what he needed to hear from those leaders, even as the establishment continues to shun him.